Book Chapter- Forensic Hair Microscopy

The  recently published (28 August 2020) Handbook of Trace Evidence Analysis contains a chapter authored by Microtrace Research Microscopist Jason Beckert, M.S. The Handbook discusses theory, applications, and new techniques, including the critical role of microscopy. Chapters are dedicated to exploring the basic disciplines of trace evidence analysis: paints, polymers, hairs, fibers, textiles, and glass. Mr. Beckert’s chapter, entitled “Forensic Hair Microscopy,” discusses the collection, analysis, comparison, interpretation, and significance of hair analysis, especially with respect to the forensic domain.

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Forensic Hair Microscopy

This chapter focuses on the microscopical examination of hair in the forensic domain. It discusses the relevant biological aspects of hair to provide the necessary background information upon which forensic hair examinations are based. The chapter introduces the methodologies and techniques used by forensic hair examiners. It describes the basic chemistry and basic histology of hairs. Each individual hair progresses through a regular and predictable cycle. This cycle is classically described as having three major phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. While a variety of methods can be used, forceps and tape lifts are the two most commonly employed techniques for collecting hairs. Most forensic hair cases involve the examination of human hair. Historically, the emphasis has been placed on human hair comparisons. The chapter provides general guidelines for the comparison of hairs. Finally, the interpretation and significance of the results obtained through a microscopical hair examination are considered.

Handbook of Trace Evidence Analysis

Editor(s): Vincent J. Desiderio, Chris E. Taylor, Niamh Nic Daéid
First published:28 August 2020
Print ISBN:9781118962114 |Online ISBN:9781119373438 |DOI:10.1002/9781119373438
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

From the publisher:

Developed around the need for updated information in the disciplines of trace evidence the Handbook of Trace Evidence Analysis focuses on the increasing awareness and need for validation, modern methods for addressing and controlling contamination, the shift towards incorporating statistical analyses into the interpretation phase and cutting edge research into new forensic science methods and their application.

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