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    Here are some interesting facts about forensics and DNA:

    • New Zealand was the second country in the world to establish a databank of DNA profiles.
      Find out more about New Zealand's DNA Databank.
    • Your DNA is unique from your brothers and sisters because trillions of different combinations of your parents’ DNA are possible.
    • Koalas have fingerprints that are almost indistinguishable from human fingerprints.
    • Identical twins have identical DNA profiles because they develop from a single fertilised egg that splits into two.
      Find out more about twins.
    • You leave a trail behind you everywhere you go. The trail is made up of hairs, cells and body fluids.
    • DNA profiling has proven that an unusual bear shot in Canada’s Northwest was actually a cross between a grizzly bear and a polar bear.
    • When feeling the texture of a surface, the ridges in our skin, which are used for fingerprinting, heighten the intensity of stimulation of our nerve endings.
      Find out more about skin and touch.
    • No two fingerprints have ever been found alike.
    • The study of skin markings or patterns on fingers, hands and feet, used for fingerprinting or footprinting, is called dermatoglyphics.
    • The first criminal fingerprint identification was made in 1892 by Juan Vucetich. It proved that a mother had killed her sons.
    • Luminol is used at crime scenes to detect small amounts of blood. It reacts with iron in the haemoglobin and emits a blue light.
    • DNA profiling was used to identify the bodies of the Russian royal family who were murdered during the Russian Revolution in 1917.
    • DNA profiling was first performed by Sir Alec Jeffreys in England in 1984 and was introduced into New Zealand in the late 1980s.
      Find out more about DNA profiling.
    • DNA from a person’s body, from their skin, blood or saliva, is always the same.
    • Soil samples from clothes can be matched to crime scenes by profiling the DNA of microbes in the soil.
    • Bare footprints are unique to an individual in the same way that fingerprints are.
    • DNA is often found on half-eaten snacks or drink cans left behind at house burglaries.
    • DNA has been found in 400,000-year-old plants preserved in ice in Siberia.
    • The chance of two people having an identical DNA profile is 1 in 10 billion – except where they are identical twins.
    • The common house mouse appears all over the world. However scientists can tell where the mouse came from by the pollen caught in its fur.
    • By entering a crime scene just after a shooting, you can be covered with more gunshot residue than a shooter who runs away immediately.

    Activity idea

    Try this activity to help your students learn about the collection and processing of DNA evidence and use DNA profiling to solve a crime.
    Crime scene DNA

    The New Zealand Police Museum has some great forensic-related events. Check them out if you are in the Wellington area.

     

      Published 10 December 2016, Updated 12 October 2017 Referencing Hub articles