Serology

Serology refers to the examination, collection and/or preservation of evidence such as:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Collection of hairs
  • Swabbing items for touch DNA

The Forensic Biology Unit begins most case processing by examining items for the presence of biological fluids such as blood and semen. Both presumptive and confirmatory tests for blood and semen are conducted in the laboratory. With the increased sensitivity for DNA testing, the scientists at the FBU can swab items for the presence of “touch DNA,” or skin cells. This includes a variety of items such as cigarette butts that may be located at a crime scene.

The Forensic Biology Unit continues to improve the process of screening evidence by implementing new technologies such as an alternate light source which can be used to detect fluids such as blood and semen that may not be visible to the naked eye. To detect the natural fluorescent properties of semen, an ultra-violet light is used. When screening for blood on dark items, (i.e. a black t-shirt) the absorption of infrared light is used.

Figure 1: Semen on fabric using ultraviolet light

Figure 1: Semen on fabric using ultraviolet light


Figure 2: Blood on black cotton T-shirt using infrared light.

Figure 2: Blood on black cotton T-shirt using infrared light.

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3228 Gun Club Road,
West Palm Beach, FL 33406-3001

Crime Scene / Evidence/
Firearms / Forensic ID:
(561)688-4211

Quality Assurance /Chemistry /
Forensic Biology /Toxicology:
(561)688-4222

Email:
ForensicSciences@pbso.org

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