Hair elements distinguish ethnicity and gender

Written by Rebecca Brodie for Chemistry World

A new forensic tool, being developed by scientists in Canada, uses a combination of spectroscopy and statistical analysis to determine a person’s gender and ethnicity from a thread of head hair.

Trace evidence, like hair, can help determine who was at a crime scene © Shutterstock

Trace evidence, like hair, can help determine who was at a crime scene © Shutterstock

Evidence left at the scene of a crime can be in many different forms including fingerprints, blood, fibres, paint chips and hair. It is the role of forensic scientists to analyse this evidence, which is often only present in very small amounts, to help find the culprits. In previous research, blood has been used to identify gender and ethnicity, but a problem with this is that blood can deteriorate quickly and can easily be destroyed or contaminated.

To read the full article, visit Chemistry World.

Original article can be read below:

Ethnic background and gender identification using electrothermal vaporization coupled to inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry for forensic analysis of human hair
Lily Huang and Diane Beauchemin
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014, 29, 1228-1232
DOI: 10.1039/C4JA00071D

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