Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Catching terrorists: Backpacks, not the bombs inside, key to finding DNA

Date:
December 9, 2011
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Catching terrorists who detonate bombs may be easier by testing the containers that hide the bombs rather than the actual explosives, according to pioneering research.

Catching terrorists who detonate bombs may be easier by testing the containers that hide the bombs rather than the actual explosives, according to pioneering research led by Michigan State University.

Currently, law enforcement labs tend to test for DNA on the exploded bomb fragments -- but this has a low success rate, said David Foran, an MSU forensic biologist and lead investigator on the research project.

Through the MSU-led study, researchers obtained DNA from eight backpacks that had been blown up with pipe bombs inside, and subsequently obtained full DNA profiles that matched all eight volunteers who had carried the backpacks for a week.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, could ultimately change the way law enforcement officials investigate bombings, Foran said.

Foran noted that homemade bombs, or improvised explosive devices, have become the weapon of choice for terrorists and insurgents around the world. In the United States, IEDs were used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996.

"This may change the way the investigators look at things," said Foran, professor of criminal justice. "They may focus on other pieces of evidence if they know they're much more likely to produce a DNA result."

Foran said DNA is difficult to find on an exploded pipe bomb, likely because of the heat of the blast and the smooth nature of the pipe.

But DNA showed up on all of the backpacks, possibly because they weren't as decimated as the bombs and because of their coarser texture, Foran said.

Researchers examined 11 areas on the backpacks, such as the handle, straps and zipper, and from that were able to match the DNA to each of the volunteer handlers. That method, called consensus profiling, helps rule out traces of DNA that may have come from the handlers' friends or family, Foran said.

MSU researchers carried out the experiment with the Michigan State Police bomb squad at a Lansing Fire Department facility.

Foran's co-investigators were Shane Hoffmann, a former MSU graduate student now with the FBI, and Shawn Stallworth of the state bomb squad.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shane G. Hoffmann, Shawn E. Stallworth, David R. Foran. Investigative Studies into the Recovery of DNA from Improvised Explosive Device Containers*,‡. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01982.x

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Catching terrorists: Backpacks, not the bombs inside, key to finding DNA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111208142027.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2011, December 9). Catching terrorists: Backpacks, not the bombs inside, key to finding DNA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111208142027.htm
Michigan State University. "Catching terrorists: Backpacks, not the bombs inside, key to finding DNA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111208142027.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 28, 2014) Attackers stole checking and savings account information and lots of other data from JPMorgan Chase, according to the New York Times. Other banks are believed to be victims as well. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Ebola Cases Could Eventually Reach 20,000

UN: Ebola Cases Could Eventually Reach 20,000

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa eventually could exceed 20,000 cases, more than six times as many as are known now, the World Health Organization said as the US announced plans to test an experimental Ebola vaccine. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins