Forensics - Invisible fingerprints
Law enforcement agencies could have another way to trace the origin of anthrax and other chemical or biological agents with a technique being developed by researchers in ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division. The novel fingerprinting system takes advantage of stable isotopes, which are found in our bodies and throughout nature. Virtually all elements have at least two or more stable isotopes for which very subtle differences exist. So by looking at the isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen, researchers could tell, for example, if two batches of anthrax were made in the same lab or perhaps by the same person.
September 01, 2002