Science

Forensic Scientists Say Protein In Human Hair More Effective Than DNA Profiling

By Jiran , Sep 09, 2016 04:06 AM EDT
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Though DNA profiling is still the standard for analyzing evidence in crimes, forensic scientists have discovered something as unique and more effective. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have recently published their study about the matter.

Unique Identification Through DNA

DNA is unique for every individual. It is beneficial to forensic scientists in identifying victims and criminals. It is often used to put someone in the crime scene. DNA profiling is a strong evidence that can convict or acquit a suspect.

However, DNA also has its limitations. One of the researchers and Chemist Brad Hart explained that DNA breaks down easily when exposed to light, heat exposure or other environmental conditions. In that case, it will become useless. The problem of DNA's durability is not the same as our hair.

The Proteins In Hair

According to TechTimes, the protein in our hair is more stable than our DNA. It can actually overcome the limitations of the established DNA profiling. At the same time, it can also be as reliable and precise, according to the Washington Post.

The proteins in our hair are actually made out of amino acids. Proteins are specific in its structure. If it's changed, it may not be able to function. With amino acids, it's less strict.

There are times that it can be interchanged. It will still not cause any damage. These particular switches in amino acids are what they are trying to locate. If they could do that, it would lead them to a single mutation in the DNA.

Deon Anex, one of the researchers and a chemist at Livermore, said that a mutation in the DNA may show up in the protein itself. This connection between proteins and DNA is crucial. He added that the rules that apply to DNA can also be applied to proteins.

Since your hair contains proteins, it might be as unique as your DNA.

The Future Of Hair Proteins

According to Quartz, the researchers have already analyzed hair from 66 people of European descent, five African Americans, five Kenyans and six set of remains from the 1700 and 1800s. They found out that there are 185 distinctive patterns of amino acids. They admitted that a more precise identification requires further research.

It might take more years to be able to actually use hair in solving crimes. He added that it will be really relevant in a faster way to identify suspects and convict them.

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