The authors of this Review article aim to help the understanding of recent forensic science research, discussing the following topics and subtopics: forensic DNA analysis, including short tandem repeats (STRs), single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), Y-chromosome and X-chromosome analysis, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) typing, and more; forensic examination of trace evidence, including petroleum products and explosives, gunshot residue analysis (GSR), fingerprints, ink and paper analysis, and more; and drugs and poisons, including ethanol and volatiles, cannabionoids, morphine and related narcotics, cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and more.
During the period of this Review (in February 2009), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published a report entitled, “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” which offers 13 recommendations. Several of these recommendations discuss the importance of research and studies establishing the validity of forensic methods. The authors hope that this Review article will aid the understanding of what work has been accomplished in recent years to demonstrate the validity of specific forensic methods. The format selected for the survey divides coverage into three distinct areas: forensic DNA analysis; trace evidence; and drugs and poisons. Within the scope of each of the areas, key articles have been selected to describe current forensic science practices in analytical chemistry and to outline relevant forensic science research interests. In accordance with the policy of Managing Editor, the authors have strived to keep this Review limited to important articles and to keep their discussions concise and meaningful. (Published Abstract Provided)
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