- Forensic genetics
- The branch of genetics that deals with the application of genetic knowledge to legal problems and legal proceedings. Forensic genetics is also a branch of forensic medicine which deals more broadly with the application of medical knowledge to legal matters. Forensic genetics today tends to conjure up DNA. Even the term "DNA fingerprinting" is reminiscent of older methods of police identification. (A device has been designed for crime site DNA forensics. A plate of glass about the size of a hand is etched with very thin channels and reservoirs. A minute sample of DNA is moved between reservoir and channel through timed electric pulses. These thin channels then act like capillary tubes and can resolve the constituents of this minute sample of DNA. At the crime scene, the forensic technician can perform the PCR reactions for DNA fingerprinting and immediately resolve the samples on the glass plate. What normally would take more than a day, once the sample is taken to the laboratory, now takes only a few hours at the crime scene.) Forensic genetics is not a new field. Long before the era of DNA fingerprinting, blood grouping, HLA typing and other tests of genetic markers in blood were done to try to determine who did it (and, more often, who did not do it). The word "forensic" has an unusual history. It comes from the Latin word "forensis" pertaining to a forum. In ancient Rome the forum was a market place where people gathered, not just to buy things, but also to conduct all kinds of business, including that of public affairs. The meaning of "forensic" later came to be restricted to refer to the courts of law. The word entered English usage in 1659.
Medical dictionary. 2011.