However, the use of fingerprints as evidence is not entirely foolproof. Many fingerprints are “latent”; that is, they must be treated with powdered chemicals before they can be seen, which may be inconvenient at the scene of a crime. Other fingerprints are incomplete, difficult to make a positive identification from, and so not very helpful to police. Because of these problems, DNA identification, or “genetic fingerprinting”, became popular in the 1980s. But now new methods of recovering and analysing fingerprints are causing a revival in the use of traditional fingerprinting.
Fingerprints are formed when fingertips, coated with fatty acids produced by the glands, make contact with most surfaces. Researchers are now examining these fat deposits to learn more than just the identity of the person leaving the prints. Scientists are already able to determine approximate age, as well as the use of certain drugs like tobacco. These new insights may have consequences in areas beyond crime detection. Analysing a fingerprint may eventually yield as much information about an individual’s health as a blood sample and it will certainly be less painful to produce!
So, with both traditional and DNA fingerprinting seemingly here to stay, will there be anything new for 21st-century detectives? Police may soon be able to make positive identifications using earprints. It seems that many burglars press their ear to a door or window before attempting a break-in, leaving a clear and unique print for police to trace.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
ANSWER QUESTIONS 1-2 ACCORDING TO THE INFORMATION GIVEN IN THE TEXT. USE YOUR OWN WORDS.
1) Why did DNA fingerprinting become popular?
2) Why may fingerprints one day be used instead of blood tests?
ARE THESE STATEMENTS TRUE OR FALSE? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWERS WITH WORDS OR PHRASES FROM THE TEXT.
3) The fingerprint was first used as evidence in 1892.
4) The deposits left by fingertips are produced by fatty acids in the glands.
- True (lines 11-12) “fingertips, coated with fatty acids produced by the glands, make contact with most surfaces.”
5) The fatty acids in fingerprints can reveal the exact age of the depositor.
6) Police may one day use earprints to trace and identify criminals.
II. USE OF ENGLISH
7) Give one synonym for FOOLPROOF (adjective, line 5)
8) Give one opposite for PAINFUL (adjective, line 16)
9) Find in the text the word which has the following definition: “look for and find” (verb)
10) Give a verb with the same root as RELIABLE (adjective, line 3)
11) Turn the following sentence into the passive voice.
Researchers are now examining these deposits.
12) Fill in the gap with the correct form of the verb in brackets.
- The burglar didn’t realise that he had left (leave) his earprint on the door of the museum.
13) Rewrite the sentence without changing its meaning. Begin as indicated.
New discoveries may help in crime detection.
- New discoveries may help to detect crime.
14) Give a question for the underlined words.
Fingerprints were first used to convict a criminal in 1892.