Do you know that television shows where detectives are looking for fingerprints to find out who is responsible for what happened? It seems that researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, discovered that we are able to identify individuals just by using proteins found in human hair.
- Human hair could be more effective than fingerprints because it has some proteins.
- This discovery could help the police to find faster the guilty person.
At the moment, DNA is the best option for this because even though, we have similar genes, their combination is different. There is no other person on this planet who has the same DNA as you do. This helps the police to discover, for example, who is guilty when someone is killed. The problem is that DNA is vulnerable when it is exposed to light. Many times the police are not able to use it for identification. That is why researchers tried to find another solution and human hair seems to be the answer. Even though hair does not contain DNA, it has some proteins with DNA codes. Researchers discovered that when is a mutation in the DNA, the protein changes in the same way. This would mean there is a connection between the protein and the DNA. Our hairs are made of proteins, called amino acids. They need to be in a certain way to function, but sometimes amino acids can be changed with similar ones and we will not feel any effect.
Scientists discovered that if they could find these changes in a protein, they will be able to trace them to a single mutation in the DNA. This way, they can identify individuals by using human hair. There will be more research before they will use this procedure because they need a lot of hair to identify someone. However, we are expecting they will improve this discovery in the future. In 10 years, the police will found out the killer just by having his hair.
Researchers used data from 66 European people, five African American, and five Kenyans. They found 185 different patterns of proteins in the human hair. They believe they will discover more if they continue their research. Think of how much hair we lose every week. It would be easier for the policemen to discover who was guilty by using this option.
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