News & Views
Life Science Nord Presents Dr. Mark Benecke for the Start of Biotechnica 2008
Oct 10 2008
Mark Benecke is known to the wider public for his appearances on a number of German talk shows and as a guest commentator on the TV program Medical Detectives. This program shows how real criminal cases are solved, focusing on the mostly scientific methods used. In the program, the forensic biologist explains scientific backgrounds in an easy to understand manner.
Dr. Benecke is consulted as an expert for the evaluation of biological traces in alleged violent crimes with fatal consequences. The forensic scientist has also written a number of popular scientific books about the subject.
Mark Benecke, also known as "King of the Maggots", uses insect larvae to reconstruct criminological facts based on his entomological expertise. As his findings are often published in the media, one of his special credits is that he has managed to increase public interest in applied biology. Of course, biomolecular methods of forensics also belong to Dr. Benecke`s tools of the trade. Thanks to television programs like CSI, topics like forensic molecular biology and genetic fingerprinting have become widely known.
In the last several years, DNA analysis has become an essential tool in forensics and other areas of application, such as paternity testing. In criminal investigations, it is important to collect biological traces for DNA analysis in the lab. The first goal is to isolate DNA of a sufficient quality from the forensic samples (epMotion). Usually the DNA content of a sample is then quantified by means of photometric measurements or real-time PCR (Mastercycler ep realplex). Real-time PCR enables the systematic cloning and detection of DNA sections. The analysis of the reaction products makes a very precise quantification of the DNA content possible. The advantage of real-time PCR is that the percentage of human DNA in a forensic sample can be exactly determined. This information is important in order to be able to subsequently provide the optimum amount of human DNA for each individual sample in a multiplex PCR. In this reaction, 9 sections of the human DNA are cloned to create the so-called "genetic fingerprint".
It is essential that the samples cannot become contaminated during any stage in the work process. For this reason, consumables which do not contain any other human DNA should be used for the storage and processing of the samples. Eppendorf tubes and pipette tips marked "PCR clean" meet this criteria and are certified accordingly.
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