Forensic Science Laboratory
Mitochondrial DNA Testing
The Mitochondrial Section of the CT State Laboratory is made up of the Mitochondrial DNA Unit and the Mitochondrial Trace Unit. Each section contributes a necessary role so that the mitochondrial evidence obtained is utilized to its fullest extent possible.
Throughout the commission of a crime, there is a possibility that a transfer of hair can occur between individuals and/or objects. A search of the crime scene and individuals involved can result in the collection of these hairs. The number of hairs on the average personís head, the rate of an individual losing an average of 100 hairs per day, and the numerous physical characteristics exhibited in human head and pubic hairs all demonstrate the need for forensic hair comparisons. By examining and comparing the macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of the hair, an examiner can determine many things. First and foremost, the determination can be made as to whether the evidentiary item in question is indeed a hair. If it is, several other questions can be answered: if the hair is human or animal, if it is human, from which part of the body it originated, the racial origin of the hair, whether the hair was forcibly removed or naturally shed, and lastly if the hair is cosmetically treated, damaged, or diseased. The final judgment then can be made regarding whether a known hair sample can or cannot be excluded as the source of the hair in question. A hair that is associated with a known sample can then be sent to the Mitochondrial DNA Section for further analysis if it has been deemed unsuitable for nuclear DNA testing, (i.e. there is no tissue present).
Content Last Modified on 4/24/2012 2:05:30 PM