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Just RNA and Bloodstains

In episode three of the 2019 R&D season, Just Science interviews Dr. Robert Allen, professor and head of the Forensic Sciences Department at Oklahoma State University, about a method to estimate the age of bloodstains using quantitative PCR.

Traditionally, RNA has been used to identify types of cells and to determine if a sample of blood came from two sources. Dr. Allen and his team have found a new use for the single-strand genetic material – estimating the age of dried blood. By studying the ratios of degradation that take place in RNA, they can estimate the age of a blood stain up to three years old. Listen along as our guest discusses his research and RNA’s role in body fluid identification.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

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Dr. Robert W. Allen is the chair and program director as well as a professor of forensic sciences at the School of Forensic Sciences, Center for Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, Oklahoma. His PhD in molecular biology and genetics was awarded in 1977 from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, after which he had a postdoctoral fellowship at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California. He has published 82 publications, with 2 more in press and 2 in preparation. He is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Forensic Investigation.


Additional Resources:

2019 NIJ R&D Symposium Archival