History Main / FingerprintingAir

4th Apr '16 9:39:04 AM Patcher
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* The amount of DNA necessary for a speedy, accurate and legally admissible DNA profile of a human being is the amount contained in 120 recently living cells. ''One-hundred-and-twenty!'' The only reason it takes a few days to get a DNA profile in real life from any self-respecting and law abiding forensic laboratory is because the scientists have to critically evaluate the significance of the tissue sample and how and where it was found and sampled. Thus, saliva from, say-licking an envelope-is more than enough to get a legally admissible identification. Also, the FBI patented a brand of paper that stores DNA samples for at least 14 years without degrading the sample, [[OlderThanTheyThink quite some time ago]].

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* The amount of DNA necessary for a speedy, accurate and legally admissible DNA profile of a human being is the amount contained in 120 recently living cells. ''One-hundred-and-twenty!'' The only reason it takes a few days to get a DNA profile in real life from any self-respecting and law abiding forensic laboratory is because the scientists have to critically evaluate the significance of the tissue sample and how and where it was found and sampled. Thus, saliva from, say-licking say, licking an envelope-is envelope is more than enough to get a legally admissible identification. Also, the FBI patented a brand of paper that stores DNA samples for at least 14 years without degrading the sample, [[OlderThanTheyThink quite some time ago]].
12th Mar '16 11:16:33 AM Morgenthaler
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Not to mention that the actual fingerprint wouldn't be on the bullet, but on the shell casing. the body of the actual slug wouldn't have been touched by the perp while loading it.
** For clarification, he gets an identical piece of wall and shoots it with an identical bullet, and then has the computer "reconstruct" the original wall and bullet based on data from his recreation. Still just as impossible, but cool!
6th Mar '16 9:18:27 PM shinykittie
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Added DiffLines:

Not to mention that the actual fingerprint wouldn't be on the bullet, but on the shell casing. the body of the actual slug wouldn't have been touched by the perp while loading it.
17th Nov '15 4:27:03 AM Akaihiryuu
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** For clarification, he gets an identical piece of wall and shoots it with an identical bullet, and then has the computer "reconstruct" the original wall and bullet based on data from his recreation. Still just as impossible, but cool!
4th Sep '15 9:06:33 PM Ishindri
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* In ''Series/{{Continuum}}'', Kiera's multitool can produce a bio-reactive mist that makes any fingerprints exposed to it show up highlighted in her AugmentedReality cybernetics. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because it's futuretech AppliedPhlebotinum.
30th Jun '15 6:30:10 AM Morgenthaler
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* In ''TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr.,'' the title character [[spoiler: ''invents'' fingerprinting. He was able to lift a clean print off of a shell still in the chamber of a Derringer, but the odd thing is that he got a ''completely'' identical print from another object.]]

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* In ''TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr.''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr.,'' the title character [[spoiler: ''invents'' fingerprinting. He was able to lift a clean print off of a shell still in the chamber of a Derringer, but the odd thing is that he got a ''completely'' identical print from another object.]]
5th Jun '15 5:39:00 PM DarkSoldier
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* In FastFive Tej is able to lift a full hand print off of a bikini, and it good enough to get through a high end scanner.
* Subverted by ''InsideMan'', where they find many fingerprints, but quickly realize that all any of them prove is that the dozens of suspects were all at the bank that day
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', Batman is able to get fingerprints from a bullet by removing the piece of wall in which it had hit and using a computer program to reassemble the bullet, and get a fingerprint from THAT. Never mind that the fragments would probably be warped, or that the impact and friction would have utterly destroyed any semblance of a fingerprint, Batman is [[RuleOfCool just that goddamn awesome]].
* In ''FastFive'' Tej is able to lift a full hand print off of a bikini, and it good enough to get through a high end scanner.

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* In FastFive ''Film/FastFive'', Tej is able to lift a full hand print off of a bikini, and it it's good enough to get through a high end scanner.
* Subverted by ''InsideMan'', ''Film/InsideMan'', where they find many fingerprints, but quickly realize that all any of them prove is that the dozens of suspects were all at the bank that day
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', Batman is able to get fingerprints from a bullet by removing the piece of wall in which it had hit and hit, using a computer program to reassemble the bullet, and get a fingerprint from THAT. Never mind that the fragments would probably be warped, or that the impact and friction would have utterly destroyed any semblance of a fingerprint, Batman is [[RuleOfCool just that goddamn awesome]].
* In ''FastFive'' Tej is able to lift a full hand print off of a bikini, and it good enough to get through a high end scanner.
awesome]].



* In the book ''The Final Chapter'', Officer Denis takes a fingerprint from a piece of string. A fingerprint that was left ''five years ago''. On a piece of string that was holding together a stack of notebooks. Notebooks which, during those five years, got soaked so bad the writing in them has become completely illegible.
* In the novel ''[[Literature/JasonWood Digital Knight]]'', fingerprinting turned out to be totally useless because the shapeshifting abilities of werewolves was so accurate as to copy the fingerprints and DNA of the people they imitate. The hero had to invent a special sensor to distinguish werewolves from humans.
* The murderer protagonist in the Creator/RayBradbury short story "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl" took this trope too much to heart; the police catch him while he's compulsively scrubbing the ''entire house'' in fear of what he may or may not have touched. Famously adapted for ECComics' ''Crime [=SuspensStories=]'' with the more ironic title "Touch and Go!"
* In the DeanKoontz novel Dark Rivers of the Heart, the main character Spencer Grant walks through heavy rain and gets his hands soaked. He then wipes off his hands and opens a window which is also covered with flowing water. Unfortunately for him, the GovernmentAgencyofFiction has secret super advanced computers and other cutting edge technology; after a few failed attempts they eventually recover dozens of perfect, pristine prints.

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* In the book ''The Final Chapter'', Officer Denis takes a fingerprint from a piece of string. A fingerprint that was left ''five years ago''. On a piece of string that was holding together a stack of notebooks. Notebooks which, that, during those five years, got soaked so bad badly that the writing in them has become became completely illegible.
* In the ''Literature/JasonWood'' novel ''[[Literature/JasonWood Digital Knight]]'', ''Digital Knight'', fingerprinting turned out to be totally useless because the shapeshifting abilities of werewolves was so accurate as to copy the fingerprints and DNA of the people they imitate. The hero had to invent a special sensor to distinguish werewolves from humans.
* The murderer protagonist in the Creator/RayBradbury short story "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl" took this trope too much to heart; heart: the police catch him while he's compulsively scrubbing the ''entire house'' in fear of what he may or may not have touched. Famously adapted for ECComics' Creator/ECComics's ''Crime [=SuspensStories=]'' with the more ironic title "Touch and Go!"
* In the DeanKoontz Creator/DeanKoontz novel Dark ''Dark Rivers of the Heart, Heart'', the main character Spencer Grant walks through heavy rain and gets his hands soaked. He then wipes off his hands and opens a window which that is also covered with flowing water. Unfortunately for him, the GovernmentAgencyofFiction has secret super advanced computers and other cutting edge technology; after a few failed attempts they eventually recover dozens of perfect, pristine prints.



** Was able to pull ''[=DNA=]'' from a fingerprint. In "For Warrick", Ecklie notes that no one has ever pulled a successful print off an object as small as the one in question (a small-caliber bullet), and all the team members look at each other as if to say "A challenge!"

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** Was able to pull ''[=DNA=]'' from a fingerprint. In "For Warrick", Warrick," Ecklie notes that no one has ever pulled a successful print off an object as small as the one in question (a small-caliber bullet), bullet in question and all the team members look at each other as if to say "A challenge!"



* In ''TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr.,'' the titular character [[spoiler: ''invents'' fingerprinting. He was able to lift a clean print off of a shell still in the chamber of a Derringer, but the odd thing is that he got a ''completely'' identical print from another object.]]

to:

* In ''TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr.,'' the titular title character [[spoiler: ''invents'' fingerprinting. He was able to lift a clean print off of a shell still in the chamber of a Derringer, but the odd thing is that he got a ''completely'' identical print from another object.]]



* Frequently averted in ''TheWire''. At the end of Season 1 when [[spoiler: Kima]] gets shot, the shooters wear gloves. [[spoiler: The prints the police ''DO'' get are from several blocks away after the shooters ditched their gloves and hoodies, and even then, only the print lifted from a soda can is usable. The ones they tried to pull off the pay phone are too smudged to be worth anything]]. And in season 5, when dealing with [[spoiler: the bodies dumped in the vacant houses]], police find almost no usable evidence to tie the crimes to anyone. When it comes to fingerprints, it's explicitly said that there's nothing they can use at any of the 22 different crime scenes.

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* Frequently averted in ''TheWire''.''Series/TheWire''. At the end of Season 1 when [[spoiler: Kima]] gets shot, the shooters wear gloves. [[spoiler: The prints the police ''DO'' get are from several blocks away after the shooters ditched their gloves and hoodies, and even then, only the print lifted from a soda can is usable. The ones they tried to pull off the pay phone are too smudged to be worth anything]]. And in season 5, when dealing with [[spoiler: the bodies dumped in the vacant houses]], police find almost no usable evidence to tie the crimes to anyone. When it comes to fingerprints, it's explicitly said that there's nothing they can use at any of the 22 different crime scenes.



* One episode of the live-action ''{{Zorro}}'' show had Zorro invent fingerprinting. He investigates the Alcalde's (Mayor's) office in an episode where the Alcalde is acting strangely: rescinding unpopular decrees one moment, then punishing people for violating the decree they were just told was rescinded the next. He finds two sets of fingerprints in the Alcalde's private office (which he presumably doesn't let other people into), leading him to realize that there are two Alcaldes, eventually leading to a SpotTheImposter moment in a public duel against both Alcaldes. Subversion in that the fingerprints were only used to confirm that there ''was'' an imposter, but not to identify the imposter That was done by Zorro pointing out that the real Alcalde had a [[RevealingInjury scar on the back of his wrist]] from a previous fight with him and cutting the sleeves of both Alcaldes to see which one had the scar.

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* One episode of the live-action ''{{Zorro}}'' ''Series/{{Zorro}}'' show had Zorro invent fingerprinting. He investigates the Alcalde's (Mayor's) office in an episode where the Alcalde is acting strangely: rescinding unpopular decrees one moment, then punishing people for violating the decree they were just told was rescinded the next. He finds two sets of fingerprints in the Alcalde's private office (which he presumably doesn't let other people into), leading him to realize that there are two Alcaldes, eventually leading to a SpotTheImposter moment in a public duel against both Alcaldes. Subversion in that the fingerprints were only used to confirm that there ''was'' an imposter, but not to identify the imposter That was done by Zorro pointing out that the real Alcalde had a [[RevealingInjury scar on the back of his wrist]] from a previous fight with him and cutting the sleeves of both Alcaldes to see which one had the scar.



* In a possibly literal example of this trope, ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' had the crew use "Displaced Photons" to determine who was telepathically attacking the Maquis crew members.

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* In a possibly literal example of this trope, ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' had the crew use "Displaced Photons" "[[{{Technobabble}} displaced photons]]" to determine who was telepathically attacking the Maquis crew members.



** As shown above, an inverted example comes in episode 2 of the third game. When defending a client for the larceny of a urn (yes you heard right, for once it wasn't a murder. ...Well, sort off), Phoenix ends up cornering the real thief due to his own fingerpints being on the urn. The urn was vigorously polished after it was secured at a exhibition, and the only time after that that he had to get his prints onto the urn was when he was feeling around inside a bag that was sitting in [[spoiler:Luke Atmey's]] office. Therefore his prints prove that the urn was at [[spoiler:Atmey's]] office between it being stolen and then found. [[spoiler:Although, not really. This comes back to massively bite Phoenix in the butt later on when it's discovered that a murder occurred at the exact same time as the theft. Phoenix basically just proved the bad guy has an airtight alibi. Good job there Phoenix.]]

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** As shown above, an inverted example comes in episode 2 of the third game. When defending a client for the larceny of a urn (yes you heard right, for once it wasn't a murder. ...Well, sort off), Phoenix ends up cornering the real thief due to his own fingerpints fingerprints being on the urn. The urn was vigorously polished after it was secured at a exhibition, and the only time after that that he had to get his prints onto the urn was when he was feeling around inside a bag that was sitting in [[spoiler:Luke Atmey's]] office. Therefore his prints prove that the urn was at [[spoiler:Atmey's]] office between it being stolen and then found. [[spoiler:Although, not really. This comes back to massively bite Phoenix in the butt later on when it's discovered that a murder occurred at the exact same time as the theft. Phoenix basically just proved the bad guy has an airtight alibi. Good job there Phoenix.]]



* The ''Franchise/BatmanArkhamSeries'' has Batman using his detective vision as an EverythingSensor to analyze and find clues in crime scenes, sometimes to put together pieces of the puzzle and solve a mystery but often to find some method to track someone through the environment. ''Arkham Asylum'' was especially bad about using this trope, at one point he tracked a corrupt security officer across the compound via traces of bourbon in the air. ''Arkham City'' is slightly better about this, such as using multiple impact points to trace the origin of a sniper, although the convenience of certain clues was a little suspicious. By ''Arkham Origins'' it is mostly averted as, while maybe better than real life, several sequences involve a "scrubbing" mode where he uses realistic evidence (scuff marks, bullet entry angles, explosive patterns) to recreate crime scenes in three dimensional space, allowing him to locate vital evidence missed by the police.

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* The ''Franchise/BatmanArkhamSeries'' has Batman using use his detective vision Detective Vision as an EverythingSensor to analyze and find clues in crime scenes, sometimes to put together pieces of the puzzle and solve a mystery mystery, but often to find some method to track someone through the environment. ''Arkham Asylum'' was especially bad about using this trope, at one point he tracked a corrupt security officer across the compound via traces of bourbon in the air. ''Arkham City'' is slightly better about this, such as using multiple impact points to trace the origin of a sniper, sniper's bullet, although the convenience of certain clues was a little suspicious. By It is mostly averted by ''Arkham Origins'' it is mostly averted as, while maybe better than real life, several sequences involve a "scrubbing" mode where he uses realistic evidence (scuff marks, bullet entry angles, explosive patterns) to recreate crime scenes in three dimensional space, allowing him to locate vital evidence missed by the police.



* There actually is a Real Life Fingerprint database, which everyone and anyone trying to enlist in the US military must give prints for. The list is massive (millions of prints), and is probably what was referenced by the NCIS database matches. This is actually saved for uses of identification, due to the many things that may happen to a soldier, Marine, airman or sailor. Whether or not it's used for criminal cases is unknown, but likely.
** People applying for a security clearance also have to provide fingerprints (Among other things). Many occupations also require fingerprinting, such as anything handling large amounts of cash (the CSI example with casinos, for instance), handling/dispensing prescription drugs, or selling firearms. These prints are almost certainly checked against criminal records as part of the clearance process.
* The interesting thing is, once a person leaves the military properly (not AWOL or Dishonorable Discharge) they can submit a request that this and any DNA information the government stores of them to be destroyed since it is contractually the person's property. And on another note, most of the fingerprint information is still kept in card files with much left to be digitized because it is seen as more secure.

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* There actually is a Real Life Fingerprint fingerprint database, to which everyone and anyone trying to enlist in the US military Armed Forces must give prints for. their prints. The list is massive (millions of prints), prints) and is probably what was referenced by the NCIS database matches. This is actually saved for uses of identification, due to the many things that may happen to a soldier, Marine, airman airman, or sailor.sailor that could leave otherwise unrecognizable. Whether or not it's used for criminal cases is unknown, but likely.
** People applying for a security clearance also have to provide fingerprints (Among other things). Many occupations also require fingerprinting, such as anything those handling large amounts of cash (the CSI example with casinos, for instance), handling/dispensing prescription drugs, or selling firearms. These prints are almost certainly checked against criminal records as part of the clearance process.
* The interesting thing is, once a person leaves the military properly (not AWOL or Dishonorable Discharge) dishonorable discharge) they can submit a request that this and any DNA information the government stores of them to be destroyed since it is contractually the person's property. And on another note, most of the fingerprint information is still kept in card files with much left to be digitized because it is seen as more secure.



* There have been two major claims of knowing who Jack the Ripper was based off DNA
** In 2002, Patricia Cornwell claimed that Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper based off multiple pieces of evidence, one of the largest being DNA from a stamp of one of the letters. However, since it is believed that most of the letters are hoaxes, this doesn't prove it. In addition, any DNA obtained this way would have to be Mitochondrial DNA, which isn't unique to an individual (in fact, millions of people have the same Mitochondrial DNA)
** In 2014, Dr. Jari Louhelainen and author Russell Edwards claimed to find evidence that Aaron Kominsky was Jack the Ripper from DNA on a shawl owned and worn by Catherine Eddowes when she died. However, this claim was heavily criticized, and when it was finally admitted for peer review, several flaws were found, predominantly that the DNA evidence that it was linked to Catherine Eddowes was incorrect [[note]]Eddowes contains a very rare mitochondrial DNA 314.1C. However, the DNA turned out to be the much more common 315.1C[[/note]] and that the shawl had been in public circulation for 126 years, meaning that any DNA evidence on it would be compromised.

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* There have been two major claims of knowing who for Jack the Ripper was Ripper's identity based off DNA
DNA:
** In 2002, Patricia Cornwell claimed that Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper based off multiple pieces of evidence, one of the largest being DNA from a stamp of one of the letters. However, since it is believed that most of the letters are hoaxes, this doesn't prove it. In addition, any DNA obtained this way would have to be Mitochondrial mitochondrial DNA, which isn't unique to an individual (in fact, millions of people have the same Mitochondrial mitochondrial DNA)
** In 2014, Dr. Jari Louhelainen and author Russell Edwards claimed to find evidence that Aaron Kominsky was Jack the Ripper from DNA on a shawl owned and worn by Catherine Eddowes when she died. However, this claim was heavily criticized, and when it was finally admitted for peer review, several flaws were found, predominantly that the DNA evidence that it was linked to Catherine Eddowes was incorrect [[note]]Eddowes contains a very rare mitochondrial DNA 314.1C. However, the DNA turned out to be the much more common 315.1C[[/note]] and that the shawl had been in public circulation for 126 years, meaning that any DNA evidence on it would be compromised.
6th May '15 12:09:28 PM rjd1922
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** Whenever prints are lifted from a piece of evidence that wouldn't normally hold prints, there's always almost always an explanation; For example, [[spoiler:Juniper Woods]] fingerprints were found on a stuffed animal's tail because it happened to be made of vinyl. And [[spoiler:Ema Sykes]] fingerprints were found on a piece of cloth because the jacket it was cut from was made out of leather.

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** Whenever prints are lifted from a piece of evidence that wouldn't normally hold prints, there's always almost always an explanation; For example, [[spoiler:Juniper Woods]] Woods']] fingerprints were found on a stuffed animal's tail because it happened to be made of vinyl. And [[spoiler:Ema Sykes]] fingerprints were found on a piece of cloth because the jacket it was cut from was made out of leather.



-->'''Adachi:''' Man, isn't crime scene investigation something? Who would've thought you could get viable prints from cloth

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-->'''Adachi:''' Man, isn't crime scene investigation something? Who would've thought you could get viable prints from clothcloth?
17th Apr '15 8:26:26 PM nombretomado
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Fingerprinting in the real world is not quite so easy, but there are one or two places where the shows catch a break. ''{{CSI}}'' benefits from being set in Las Vegas, where the largest employers (the casinos) require employees to register with the gaming commission. The use of superglue fumes to process latent fingerprints is, surprisingly, quite real. While not quite so miraculous as it appears on TV, it certainly must have seemed that way when it was first discovered. Incidentally, it replaced the older Ninhydrin process after the chemicals used in that process were discovered to cause cancer.

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Fingerprinting in the real world is not quite so easy, but there are one or two places where the shows catch a break. ''{{CSI}}'' ''Series/{{CSI}}'' benefits from being set in Las Vegas, where the largest employers (the casinos) require employees to register with the gaming commission. The use of superglue fumes to process latent fingerprints is, surprisingly, quite real. While not quite so miraculous as it appears on TV, it certainly must have seemed that way when it was first discovered. Incidentally, it replaced the older Ninhydrin process after the chemicals used in that process were discovered to cause cancer.



The trope name comes from an exchange on ''{{CSI}}''. A detective asks Warrick if he can pull a print from some object, and he exaggerates, "I can pull a fingerprint off the ''air''."

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The trope name comes from an exchange on ''{{CSI}}''.''Series/{{CSI}}''. A detective asks Warrick if he can pull a print from some object, and he exaggerates, "I can pull a fingerprint off the ''air''."



* One episode of ''CSIMiami'' had an interesting variation; the fingerprints on the weapon matched a rape ''victim'' from a previous crime that the tech hadn't deleted. The tech ended up losing her job, and yes, the victim was the new perp.
* ''{{CSI NY}}'' had one episode where the print was pulled from the victim's skin by degloving the hands and putting the fingertip skin over the investigator's finger like a glove. This is another thing that actually is sometimes used in real life.

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* One episode of ''CSIMiami'' ''Series/CSIMiami'' had an interesting variation; the fingerprints on the weapon matched a rape ''victim'' from a previous crime that the tech hadn't deleted. The tech ended up losing her job, and yes, the victim was the new perp.
* ''{{CSI ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'' had one episode where the print was pulled from the victim's skin by degloving the hands and putting the fingertip skin over the investigator's finger like a glove. This is another thing that actually is sometimes used in real life.
9th Apr '15 7:02:14 AM MasamiPhoenix
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** In 2014, Dr. Jari Louhelainen and author Russell Edwards claimed to find evidence that Aaron Kominsky was Jack the Ripper from DNA on a shawl owned and worn by Catherine Eddowes when she died. However, this claim was heavily criticized, and when it was finally admitted for peer review, several flaws were found, predominantly that the DNA evidence that it was linked to Catherine Eddowes was incorrect [note]Eddowes contains a very rare mitochondrial DNA 314.1C. However, the DNA turned out to be the much more common 315.1C[/note] and that the shawl had been in public circulation for 126 years, meaning that any DNA evidence on it would be compromised.

to:

** In 2014, Dr. Jari Louhelainen and author Russell Edwards claimed to find evidence that Aaron Kominsky was Jack the Ripper from DNA on a shawl owned and worn by Catherine Eddowes when she died. However, this claim was heavily criticized, and when it was finally admitted for peer review, several flaws were found, predominantly that the DNA evidence that it was linked to Catherine Eddowes was incorrect [note]Eddowes [[note]]Eddowes contains a very rare mitochondrial DNA 314.1C. However, the DNA turned out to be the much more common 315.1C[/note] 1C[[/note]] and that the shawl had been in public circulation for 126 years, meaning that any DNA evidence on it would be compromised.
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