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Pollen's Role in Forensic Science

Pollen is used to help to provide links within forensic investigations. This can take on different forms, but the goal is to aid a case by providing increased evidence linking. Note: The same concept can be applied to spores.

What is Pollen?

Pollen is the male reproductive cell of flowering and cone bearing plants. Found nearly everywhere, pollen has many unique shapes and sizes when viewed the with aid of a microscope. Within the same genus there are often similarities.

Pollen - natures snap shot

Pollen produces a pollen fingerprint and can help to provide an idea of the region and time of year from which it originated.

Pollen can be used to…

- Determine if the body was in a particular place at a specific timeframe
- Identify what season the crime was committed
- If a body is discovered and contains non-native pollen it was likely moved prior to its present location.

What to look for

Pollens are visually inspected with a microscope to look for:
- Shape
- Size
- Surface texture
- Compare specimens from crime scene with that on the suspect and/or victim