Forensic Terms


A technique by which DNA fragments are placed in a gel and charged with electricity. The process separates the fragments by size, as part of the process of creating a genetic profile.

DNA Profiling

The process of testing to identify DNA patterns or types. In forensic science this testing is used to indicate parentage or to exclude or include individuals as possible sources of bodily fluid stains (blood, saliva, semen) and other biological evidence (bones, hair, teeth.)

DNA Databanks

Databases which store DNA profiles collected from various classes of offenders. DNA from a given crime can be entered into the databank; it can then be matched with DNA profiles from other crimes, providing potential matches from previous convictions.


Deoxyribonucleic Acid. Constructed of a double helix, DNA is the genetic material contained in cells. All organic matter has a specific DNA sequence; these sequences act like a genetic fingerprint and are currently the best method for identifying organic evidence like blood and other bodily fluids.


A microscopic, single-cell form of marine or fresh-water algae, having siliceous cell walls. A body of water may contain many specifies of diatoms, but not all species of diatoms live in every body of water. Through painstaking examination, forensic scientists are able to identify the body of water wherein a given specifies of diatom lives.


The study of criminal activity and how it is dealt with by the law.

Criminal Profiling

A tool used to aid investigators by providing information about the type of individual committing a specific crime. Information taken from the crime scene is integrated with known psychological theory and the history and background of the victim to draw up a biographical sketch of the perpetrator.

Crime Scene Staging

The attempt by a perpetrator or accomplice to alter a crime scene in order to reduce its evidentiary value.


It’s easy to relate to the sinking feeling which accompanies being stopped for a routine traffic violation but, until recently, I never thought about what it’s like for the police officer.

During a conference I attended not too long ago, I had …

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Forensic Files® is a pioneer in the field of fact-based, high-tech, dramatic storytelling. This series of television programs delves into the world of forensic science, profiling intriguing crimes, accidents and outbreaks of disease from around the world. is the official source for information about the program — and the premier online destination for video and information on Forensic Science.

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Ever wondered how we pull off all the stunts and recreations in Forensic Files? We reveal the secrets in our Behind the Scenes video series.

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