DNA fingerprint within a fingerprint

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The Independent Online
Forensic scientists have discovered how to find a genetic fingerprint in a fingerprint, providing a vital new source of criminal evidence. Minute traces of DNA, traceable to specific individuals, have been taken from objects touched by hands by researchers in Australia.

The technique developed at the Victoria Police forensic science centre not only detects the last person to handle an object, but earlier ones too. In fact, the strongest profile was not always found to be that of the last user.

The researchers carried out experiments that involved passing around a variety of objects including mugs, leather briefcases, pens, car keys and telephones.

They found that a person can be identified from as little as 1.1 billionths of a gram of deposited genetic material.

Writing in the science journal Nature, the researchers said: "Our methods have already been used at our laboratory to provide evidence in attempted murder, rape, armed robbery, extortion and drug-trafficking cases."