Biotechnology used in Forensics

By Kacey O'Brien and Kiersten Withstandley

What is it?

DNA particles in hair follicles, skin, or blood samples for example found at crime scenes are vital to solving crimes. With the use of biotechnology, scientists can test for these DNA samples to figure out who had committed the crime.


A few steps that are commonly done in the field of forensic investigation could for example be definitely photography of the scene, taking trace materials, collecting DNA evidence and more. Detectives in this case usually start interviewing victims affected by the specific case, and they go along from there with a lead.

How is it being used currently? Different uses for it?

Forensics has been around for thousands of years. In fact, it technically been around since the BC era. Today, there are different types of jobs for forensics such as a crime scene investigator, crime scene re constructionist, etc. In modern times, there are advanced tools used in forensics that make things simpler for these citizens. These include magnetic fingerprinting, 3D facial reconstruction, alternative light photography, and many more.

What is the benefit of this type of genetic engineering?

This type of genetic engineering is beneficial because it ultimately helps solve many types of crimes committed, helps determine the causes of death, can check the alcohol levels in a persons body, and basically supports the cases and causes against many criminals a crime scenes.

Disadvantages and risks

Disadvantages or risks could include that it's against certain ethical and legal beliefs, it's costly, has to always be precise or else it will not turn out correctly, basically invades a person's privacy, and it could easily be manipulated.

How it affects organisms physically

In the process of investigating an organism, like in forensic anthropology (study of humans) for example, they first try to determine if something is bone, then next if the substance is human. When all of this is figured out, that is usually when questions like "Who is the individual?" come about and is figured out with high quality, forensic equipment.
The Real Science of Forensics

What's its economic effect?

Testing DNA is very expensive. To test a bone or teeth sample, it would cost $1,150, and to test a swab with DNA, it would cost $700.

How does it affect the environment?

Biotechnology in forensics does not affect the environment. However, if there is a tragedy such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack, DNA testing would be used to identify the victims' bodies.

How does it affect the world in a social aspect?

Introducing new forms of biotechnology is controversial based on people's ethical beliefs, so some people are skeptical. They are skeptical because with a new type of biotechnology, things that have never been done before are happening, and people are unsure of future outcomes.

How will it affect our future?

It would lead to criminals getting arrested, which would ultimately lead to a much safer community for the people. Also, if someone's family member is killed, they could use biotechnology to determine a cause of death which would bring closure to their family