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What is forensic biology?

With the plethora of police television shows or movies available, you have no doubt seen actors portraying detectives or discussing the particulars of certain pieces of evidence. But, behind all of the story lines in these fictional situations, what is actually real? In the world of forensic evidence and testing, there are different types of specialities and ways that evidence is evaluated. There are also specific types of testing for certain types of evidence.

According to the state of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, a forensic biologist may be used to investigate bodily fluids that may be deemeed as evidence or believed to be usable as evidence. On average, the department processes roughly 500 sets of evidence related to different sex crimes and more than 750 cases' worth of evidence overall. In addition to sexual assault cases, many bodily fluids are tested for potential homicide cases as well.

Urine and fecal samples, saliva, blood and semen are some of the materials that a forensic biologist will test. Stains, patterns and damage on items involving the samples are scanned and looked for. The outcomes of a forensic biologist's work include the determination about what materials require additional DNA testing. If this is recommended, a different lab unit will perform the other testing, generally a special DNA testing unit.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give Connecticut residents an overview of how evidence is evaluated by forensic biologists and otherexperts in a criminal case.

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