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Page 376 ï~~376 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 43 BOOK REVIEWS Coyle, Heather M. (ed.). 2005. Forensic Botany: Principles and Applications to Criminal Casework. CRC Press LLC, Baca Raton, Fl, 318 pp. ISBN 0-8493 -1529-8 (Hardbound). $119.95 Over the past year, Crime Scenes Investigations (CSI) TV shows have leapt to the fore-front for American viewing. Classes on forensics are popping up on many college and university campuses. Over the past 20 years there has been, with the advent of DNA analyses, a boom in the use of biological evidence. Numerous samples of biological based material can be characterized and identified to precise individuals. This area of forensic science has had a major impact on all aspects of standard procedures and practices, validation, quality of science, and education. Much of what is portrayed on the TV programs centers around human forensics, but one area that can have a dramatic impact on a case is botanical information. This volume attempts to introduce the reader into this area. It is written for the non-professional botanist. The book is a compilation of review articles written by 20 contributors from Australia, England, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the United States, all apparently specialists in their field of botanical forensics (biographies are given in Appendix D). The editor, Dr. Heather Miller Coyle, is presently the lead criminalist for the Division of Scientific Services in Connecticut and is a specialist in DNA testing for human and non-human evidence. There are 15 chapters with eight written completely or partially by Coyle. The first four chapters are very introductory and cover such topics as basic plant biology, plant cell structure and function, reproduction, genetics, DNA structure, and basics of molecular biology (Chapters 1-5). In Chapter 6, Coyle deals with plant diversity and gives various "Case Histories" of tracking the history of grape cultivars, the potato, rice, and maize (corn). There is also discussion of various markers used in unraveling mysteries. Chapter 7 summarizes the use of botanical and biological evidence in criminal investigations, concluding with two case studies. Chapter 8 gives an overview of the historical developments in using DNA. Chapters 9 and 10 center on identifying plant species by using DNA, especially if the material has been mixed with other contaminants like stomach contents, other plant material, or of a size difficult to identify otherwise. Chapter 11 deals with some classic forensic botany cases such as anatomical evidence from the first "Trial of the Century," the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh's son, the 1991 Connecticut case where pond microscopic plants on clothes tied attackers to an attempted murder, the use of pollen samples to solve cases, forensic archeology in burial sites, and others. Chapter 12 discusses tracking clonally propagated marijuana, and Chapter 13 deals with the legal aspects and acceptance by courts of new forensic methods. Chapter 14 deals, more in depth than the other chapters, with palynology
Page 377 ï~~2004 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 377 (pollen analysis). Here are the best illustrations of the entire book and also some color to emphasize points made about the stages of meiosis and mitosis. The micrographs of light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of pollen are superb and certainly give the reader an understanding of pollen features helpful in identification to plant species. It ends with some interesting case studies. The final Chapter 15 looks to the future of forensic botany and where DNA typing technologies of plants might lead, especially forensic plant genotyping. Each chapter has a selected list of references at the end. There are four appendices: Appendix A: Considerations for the Use of Forensic Botanical Evidence: An Overview; Appendix B: Glossary of Terms (covers nine pages); Appendix C: Directory of Contacts (may be helpful to those involved in forensics); and Appendix D mentioned above. The book is small in size at 6 x 9" (16 x 25 cm), printed on acid-free paper, and with some figures and photographs in most chapters. Except for the outstanding ones mentioned above, most photos are on the dark side and of poor quality. At a price of $100+ the book will have limited personal sales. On the positive side, it does give the enquiring person an introduction to forensic botany. The varied case studies given between its covers may make the book of value to most college or municipal libraries. Dennis W. Woodland Biology Department Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI 49104-0410 woody @andrews.edu Mohar, P. (ed.). 2000. A Congenial Fellowship. A Botanical Correspondence between Charles C. Deam and Floyd A. Swink. 1946-1951. Shirley Heinze Environmental Fund, 444 Barker Road, Michigan City, IN 46304, 387 pp. ISBN 0 -7388-2572-7 (Softbound), $18.00 (http://www.heinzetrust.org/). The two central figures of this book are amateur botanists who contributed greatly to the understanding of wild plants in the Great Lakes area. Charles C. Deam, who wrote, in the opinion of the late Dr. Richard Pohl of Iowa State University, "one of the best state floras," the Flora of Indiana in 1940, and Floyd A. Swink co-author of Flora of the Chicago Region, 4th edition, with Gerald Wilhelm, 1994. These two heroes of Indiana plants laid the groundwork for the rest of us to build upon. These letters allow us to peer into the minds and to follow the collecting trips of two giants of 20th century natural history in northwest Indiana. They also provide a glimpse into the life and times of these two very interesting, dedicated botanists. Peg Mohar edited this compilation of the letters and notes that passed between these men, largely after Deam retired, and at the beginning of Swink's ac