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Topic 6: Infection, Immunity & Forensics
Introduction by Edexcel
This topic starts by looking at how forensic pathologists use a wide variety of analytical
techniques to determine the identity of a person or other animal, and to establish the
time and cause of death of an organism, including humans.
It then considers how bacteria and viruses use a variety of routes into their hosts and
how hosts have evolved barriers and internal mechanisms to combat infections. These
protections are not always successful and many people in the world still die from
infectious diseases.
This topic also investigates the evolutionary battles that take place between invading
pathogens and their hosts.
For the end of Year 12
We will cover the forensics component of the course over the next 5-6 weeks. We will
begin by looking at the basic ways in which a corpse can be identified.
Finger Printing & Identification
Distinguish individuals by comparing the composition of their finger prints & compare
the class sample to the national average.
Juan Vucetich, born in
Croatia and an Argentinean
immigrant was the first to
make a positive
identification in a criminal
Police Inspector Alvarez
In 1892, two boys were brutally murdered in the village of Necochea, near Buenos
Aires, Argentina. Initially, suspicion fell on a man named Velasquez, a suitor of the
children's mother, Francisca Rojas. But even after torture (?), the police could not
get him to confess.
Aware of Juan Vucetich’s ideas they asked him compare a bloody finger print &
the mothers – they were a match. When confronted she broke down and
Today finger printing has evolved in application, complexity and speed, but the
fundamental principles have remained the same as seen in the FBI’s developments: