forensic botany

Robinson, Dr. David drobinson at
Fri May 12 09:46:34 EST 2000


In Arizona, there was the case of mesquite beans (from a native tree)
dropping into the bed of a pickup truck owned by a man who was suspected of
committing a rape/murder out in the desert. They did PCR-RFLP analysis of
the beanpods in the truck vs. the different mesquite trees in the area to
show that he most likely did have his truck parked under a specific tree
(which happened to grow at the crime scene). They convicted the guy.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	jperry at [SMTP:jperry at]
> Sent:	Thursday, May 11, 2000 2:38 PM
> To:	plant-ed at
> Subject:	RE: forensic botany
> I believe the first step would to become a broadly educated botanist, with
> a
> lot of coursework in taxonomy, biogeography, and plant anatomy. My major
> professor has done a bit of work in this field, serving as an expert
> witness
> in a baby food (!) litigation. He's a plant anatomist. 
> It's unclear to me what role molecular biology is playing in forensic
> botany, but I would imagine these modern techniques are becoming more
> important.
> jim
> -----Original Message-----
> From: RFisher at [mailto:RFisher at]
> Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2000 12:52 PM
> To: plant-ed at
> Subject: forensic botany
> Dear plant-ed folks:
> I have a student who is interested in forensic botany.  How would she get
> a
> start in this field?  She's a very good student and is planning on going
> to
> graduate school with this field in mind but she's unsure of where to
> start.
> Roxanne
> **************************************************************************
> Roxanne H. Fisher                                  rfisher at
> Assistant Professor of Biology                  phone (412)365-1893
> Chatham College                                     fax (412)365-1505
> Woodland Road
> Pittsburgh, PA 15232
> ***********************************************************************
> ---
> ---
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