The wonders of DNA

or to use its full name deoxyribonucleic acid.

Back in 1984, when Dr Alec Jeffreys developed the procedure of DNA fingerprinting, the world of crime detection took on a whole new level. His work at the University of Leicester, UK, had far-reaching implications across the world, and led to another option in the crime writers tool-kit.

As I mentioned on my Blood Analysis post, I want to pay attention to the little details when writing crime fiction. I don’t want to write a physics manual, but a little knowledge helps. Whether that’s from CSI Vegas or a Forensic Science book. The research is varied and fun. πŸ™‚

Biologicals are a great source of DNA, be it hair, skin, tissue or bones and fluids. If character X goes out and strangles Miss Y then they are likely to leave skin samples around her neck. Did she struggle and grapple with her killer? If so she is likely to have scratched them and would have skin underneath her fingernails or a few hairs deposited on X’s clothing.

Be creative with the evidence. DNA can survive for centuries in the right conditions so that historical novel you’re writing can splice with your modern-day story. Richard III was recently discovered underneath a car park. DNA was used to validate that it really was him and he died in 1485!

Your killer of Miss Y will probably have worn gloves, but there are other ways for your CSI and Detectives can find the DNA evidence to trap them. The cigarette butts left across the road, the chewing gum or the sneeze in the discarded tissue. There are many options to use.

When they do find any evidence, is X’s DNA going to be on file or would that would be too easy. Oh, yes. Far too easy. πŸ™‚

I found the DNA weeks of the Forensic course fascinating, albeit very technical. It certainly gave me a number of ideas on how to trap my killer and build the clues and red herrings.

And remember, DNA could be used to confirm whether your characters are really long-lost siblings, or related to Great Uncle Ernie. It’s not just about your Detective solving a series of murders.



This is my D post for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. A list of all my A to Z Blogging Challenge posts are to be found here.

My pictures today are from the Dolomite mountains, Italian side. One of the most breathtaking places I have ever had the pleasure to visit. Talk about FRESH air. My lungs thought it was their birthday!

Dolomite Mountains

More dolomites

One more dolomites

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
This entry was posted in A to Z Blogging Challenge, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to DNA

  1. Great post Pete, and a timely warning for me to wear a space suit when I want to commit a crime.

  2. elwoodcock says:

    Oooh, lovely photos πŸ™‚ I’ve always wanted to go to the Dolomites.

  3. Fantastic mountain pics.

    I’m glad criminals can be found guilty with DNA evidence.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks. When you read so many cases these days where DNA evidence is crucial you have to think how many people got away with crimes in the past. A massive leap forward. πŸ™‚

  4. bronbloxham says:

    Wow… great photos. I’m with lorddavidprosser… I’m going to wear a latex onesie for my future life a a criminal mastermind!

  5. kford2007 says:

    Beautiful photos. I would love to go there some day.

  6. jadereyner says:

    I really like the A to Z blog idea and am very impressed with your creativity on these – can’t wait to see the photos for Z! Re.your ‘C’ post, I couldn’t agree more about creative writing courses – really helps to unlock those thoughts!

  7. Damyanti says:

    Those mountain pics are awesome !

    Damyanti, Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks. A great place to visit and you really do feel like you’re on top of the world πŸ™‚

      I am loving the A to Z challenge. Thanks for co-hosting πŸ™‚

  8. ewgibson says:

    Wonderful info about DNA and awesome pics of the Dolomite Mts. Very interesting D for the A to Z.

  9. rtd14 says:

    Pete, those are beautiful pictures! I want to go now, especially with the rain outside.

    You are right about DNA. While I do not write mystery, it is very interesting. I am reading an author named Robert Morgan. I was amazed at how he described a crane coming off of a train in the early 1920s to hang a poor elephant that kills a man in the book. He describes how the police officers execute the poor animals with a volley of shots. While it is not quite DNA, I am impressed with just the research the author did to figure out how an elephant would be executed in the North Carolina mountains during the ’20s.

  10. Maribeth says:

    Dna is truly fascinating. Good luck with your crime novels.

  11. I am fascinated by DNA evidence and how people solve crimes. Have you read “The Murder Room” by Mike Cappuzzo? Great book about police officers, FBI peeps, detectives etc who get together once a month to solve cold cases. It’s brilliant.

  12. Julie says:

    It is amazing how you can learn so much through DNA. Beautiful mountain photos!

  13. Well I love watching the CSI shows and DNA is really interesting stuff. Enjoyed your post!

    Keep Calm and A-Z
    An A-Z of learning English
    Round the world from A to Z

  14. Darla Dumler says:

    DNA is an amazing fact of our human state that still leaves me in awe of the one who created me. I also like the book called the DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley. We are wonderfully made.

  15. cassmob says:

    Love the photos of the Dolomites…so dramatic and beautiful with their covering of snow. Another possible spin for your stories…you could tie in DNA with a family-history type link in a crime novel I feel sure.

  16. Pingback: Fingerprints | Pete Denton - Writer

  17. EllaDee says:

    Bot cats btu I do like the pics of the Dolomite mountains. I like how you are combine topic and photos πŸ™‚

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