A Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ilorin, Rotimi Olusanya Arise has stressed the importance of intensive use of forensic science in resolving crimes.
This form of investigation, according to him would make it easy for crime detection as well as in unravelling how a crime was perpetrated and an individual’s role in a crime.
The University Don reveled this while delivering the 228th Inaugural Lecture of University of Ilorin titled “Modulating the Mediators of Life Processes: The Strategic Place of Enzymes in Health and Wellness”, held at the Institution’s Auditorium.
He emphasized that the application of enzymes as manipulative tools in Forensic Science involves techniques or tests used to investigate crime scene samples such as saliva, blood, urine, hair, sweat and other bodily substances.
He added that “this is when crime scene investigators inspect/analyze such crime scene samples using enzymes. For example, blood, spit, sperm, sweat, hair and many more human secretions or parts can be tested to assess how a crime was perpetrated.
“Blood enzymes are used to identify individual’s unique genetic markers leading to the determination of an individual’s role in a crime. Also, saliva, composed of water, enzymes, mucus and epithelial cells from the inside of the cheeks, is an ideal body fluid for DNA profiling.
“Saliva, tissues or sperm is useful for forensic identification of rapists or perpetrators of related crimes because through the use of enzymes, it can be decided whose body fluid/tissue is found on the victim or the accused.
“We now know that through the use of enzymes as manipulative tools, disputed paternity can be resolved. There are new methods of DNA analysis and enzyme forensics that can identify a person of African/Caribbean decent; hair and eye colour, and even the age of a person”, Arise said.
The Biochemist, who had described Biochemistry as the science of living matter, said it is the study of substances found in living organisms, the changes they undergo during development and life of the organism and metabolism by which energy is made available for life processes, including synthesis of various complex molecules.
“Biochemistry is one of the cornerstones of modern Medicine, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Physiology, Nutrition, Genetics, Pathology, Toxicology and Microbiology, thus relevant to the definition of health and investigation of diseases.
“Furthermore, it is important to Zoology, Plant Biology and Agriculture as well as other Biological Sciences. The knowledge of Biochemistry is essential to all Life Sciences, and it is actually increasingly becoming their common language.
“Biochemistry has profoundly touched on man’s health and wellness and on our understanding of the catalytic or metabolic life processes taking place in living organisms. For example, the relationship between diets and diseases was discovered in antiquity. Organ meat such as liver has long been known to cure night blindness. At that time, men wondered and marveled how this could be.
“Today, we know that liver is a good source of vitamin A. In the 18th century, cod liver oil was first used to treat rickets. Today, we know that cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin D. Juice of lemons was discovered to prevent the symptoms of scurvy (caused by vitamin C deficiency).
“Today, we know through improved knowledge of Biochemistry that lemon juice is a good source of vitamin C. Thus, Biochemistry as the chemistry of life, connotes that we must study and understand the chemical composition of life at the simplest structural and functional level”, he added.
Professor Arise, then called on people to let their food nutrients be there medicines. “Our common indigenous fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts are very rich in antioxidants, short peptides and micronutrients; and studies have shown that, they are good modulators of relevant enzymes with potentials to prevent and protect against diseases like diabetes, hypertension and ulcer.
“Corchorus olitorius leaves (ewedu) have potent blood sugar modulatory and immune boosting activities. I therefore recommend its increased, regular and general consumption”.
He also advised the public against the practice of concurrent intake of drugs such as antibiotics with alcohol, and the use of galena (tiiro) as well as exposure of skin to used lubricating oil because of the danger or harms inherent in the practice.
“Fresh fruits and leaves and water melon seeds as components of fresh vegetable salads especially for pre-diabetics and diabetics because of their potent and safe blood sugar-modulatory ability is hereby recommended.
“The general public is enjoined to cultivate the regular intake of cashew nuts both at home and offices because of its blood sugar and pressure modulatory capacity as well as eggs, yoghurt and foods that are good sources of taurine, L-phenylalanine and vitamin E because of their synergistic enhancement of alkaline phosphatase activity for improved immunological response and protection against microbial infections”.
He we further by saying that Industries such as Pharmaceutical, Food and Drinks etc should fund research as part of their corporate social responsibility, while Government agencies such as NAFDAC, SON and other relevant agencies should do more in their regulatory efforts to subject new products to standard toxicological evaluation procedures.