The investigation quickly hit an impasse. Customs and Border Protection. Palynology is the study of pollen grains and other spores. The analysis of the pollen, I learned, was performed by Laurence, who works out of a Houston lab.

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Forensic palynology has been a law enforcement tool for over 50 years. Forensic palynology is the application of pollen and spores in solving legal issues, either civil or criminal. Pollen and spores can be obtained from an extremely wide range of items, including bodies.

Pollen and spores provide clues as to the source of the items and the characteristics of the environments from which the material on them is sourced. Their usefulness lies in a combination of their abundance, dispersal mechanisms, resistance to mechanical and chemical destruction, microscopic size, and morphology.

Their often complex morphology allows identification to an individual parent plant taxon that can be related to a specific ecological habitat or a specific scene. Pollen and spore assemblages characterise different environments and scenes and can easily be picked up and transported away from scenes of interest without providing any visual clue to a suspect as to what has occurred.

With so many publications and high-profile cases involving forensic palynology and environmental analysis now receiving publicity, the future of this branch of forensic science is assured. Furthermore, with the development of multi-disciplinary approaches to environmental analyses of crime scenes, far more detailed information is now available to law enforcement agencies, enabling them to determine with greater accuracy what may have happened during the commission of criminal activities.

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Optional text in email:. Save Cancel. Create a file for external citation management software Create file Cancel. Full-text links Cite Favorites. Abstract Forensic palynology has been a law enforcement tool for over 50 years. Similar articles Hypericum pollen determines the presence of burglars at the scene of a crime: an example of forensic palynology. Mildenhall DC. Forensic Sci Int.

Epub Jan PMID: Zhang DY, et al. Fa Yi Xue Za Zhi. PMID: Review. Forensic palynology: current status of a rarely used technique in the United States of America. Bryant VM, et al. Epub Feb An unusual appearance of a common pollen type indicates the scene of the crime. Epub Jan 6. Forensic palynology and the search for geolocation: Factors for analysis and the Baby Doe case.

Laurence AR, et al. Epub Jul Show more similar articles See all similar articles. Cited by 2 articles Pollen molecular biology: Applications in the forensic palynology and future prospects: A review.

Alotaibi SS, et al. Saudi J Biol Sci. Epub Mar 4. Genetic analysis of individual seeds by amplified fragment length polymorphism. Lee CL, et al. Croat Med J. No abstract available. Publication types Editorial Actions. Review Actions. Ecosystem Actions. Humans Actions. Specimen Handling Actions. Full-text links [x] Elsevier Science. Copy Download.


Forensic palynology

Forensic palynology is the study of pollen , spores and other acid-resistant microscopic plant bodies, including dinoflagellates, to prove or disprove a relationship among objects, people and places that pertain to both criminal and civil cases. Pollen can reveal where a person or object has been, because regions of the world, countries, and even different parts of a garden will have a distinctive pollen assemblage. As an example of use in investigation of homicides, a dead body may be found in a wood. The clothes may contain pollen that was released after death the time of death can be determined by forensic entomology. If it is found to be from a place other than where the body was found, this indicates that the body was moved after death.


Fighting Crime, With Pollen

Forensic palynology relates to the application of the study of pollen and spores to legal matters, often used to establish links between objects, people and places based on the analysis and identification of pollen. Pollen and Spores Pollen refers to a powder containing the male gametophytes of seed-producing plants, produced and dispersed in order to pollinate and reproduce. Pollen grains are dispersed in a variety of ways. Anemophilous plants produce pollen to be dispersed by wind. The extent of travel can depend on a variety of factors including the strength and direction of the wind, the weight and shape of the grain, and atmospheric conditions, though the pollen will typically fall within around 2km of the parent plant.


Forensic Palynology: Why Do It and How It Works

Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Log in or Sign up. Despite being sure to provide her with plenty of exercise, you notice that your Yorkshire terrier has been gaining weight. You think someone has been sneaking her treats when you are not watching.

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