Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

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Alan Price


The purpose of this research was to study the characteristics of hair for the use as trace evidence. These characteristics are being used to add validity and reliability from the use of hair to confirm the identity of a person. Eight different humans and one dog hair samples were collected and compared to identify a fictional suspect. All of the hairs, including the primary suspect’s, were collected from a fictional crime scene. The characteristics were analyzed using a polarized microscope to microscopically compare the hairs and a ForensicGEM® DNA Extraction Kit, ZyGEM was used to extract DNA from the samples. The extracted DNA was then forwarded to the Biology Department at Colorado State University for sequencing. The hypothesis was that a positive identification would be made using this combination of microscopy and mitochondrial DNA extraction.

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