Leone Lattes

Born on: 6 February 1887 at 21:30 ( 9:30 PM )

Death: November 4, 1954

Place: Turin, Italy

He invented the idea of forensic paternity (the identification of a corpse based on blood from relatives) In 1915, he published the first Italian research of blood groups and serology. He was an Italian-Jewish forensic doctor and blood expert in Turin. He devised a simple method for diagnosing a dried bloodstain’s ABO blood group. In Rome in 1935, he was chairman of the Presidium of the First International Blood Transfusion Congress. He died on November 4, 1954, in Pavia, at the age of 67.

In the first part of the twentieth century, Leone Lattes (1887-1954) was one of the most well-known medico-legal and general serologists. He got involved in blood grouping when it was still in its childhood, and even his early works show a mastery of the subject that was not widespread at the time. His work L’individualita del Sangue Nella Biologia, Dalla Clinica e Nella Medicina Legale (1923) became a classic, with editions in German, French, and English published between 1923 and 1932. The Lattes publications describe the early procedures for determining the ABO group by looking for agglutinin in the stain. “Lattes” assays for isoagglutinin in bloodstains are still used today. A number of his cases are recounted in the 1927 publication. This paper was written in German (he wrote papers in German and French, as well as in Italian).

In 1954, Lattes’ obituary was published in Haematologica 38. The elution approach for detecting agglutinogens in dried blood was introduced in Siracusa’s work, as was the so-called absorption-inhibition method. In these investigations, the two were utilized in combination. Franz Josef Holzer (1 903-1 974) was a well-known medico-legal blood grouping expert who trained under Landsteiner in this country.

His 1931 study was the first to introduce an inhibition procedure for grouping bloodstains, which was widely adopted for many years. In 1937, he talked about how the secretor trait can be used as a forensic marker. The current state of blood grouping was examined in the 1953 study, particularly in terms of its medico-legal applications. Dr. Holzer spent his professional life at the University of Innsbruck.


In 1909, Leone Lattes received his medical degree from the University of Turn. He also studied at the Institute of Physiology in Frankfurt am Main and the University of Munich’s Department of Internal Medicine. He began his legal medical career at the University of Messina, then moved on to Modena and Pavia. Graduated from “Ciencias Medicas” during his time in Argentina.


Personal Information

  • Assistant Professor – Turin Institute of Legal Medicine
  • Serologist – Buenos Aires Municipal Hospital
  • Forensic Expert – Buenos Aires Municipal Hospital
  • Chair of Legal Medicine – Messina, Modena, and Pavia (twice)

Leone Lattes was an Italian physicist who was born in Turin. Due to racial prohibitions, Lattes later moved to Argentina in 1939. He was interested in criminal anthropology, the study of people and their connections to criminals.

Cesare Lombroso, a renounced scientist who coined the term “criminal atavism,” was a student of the latter. The latter was a strong believer in the link between anthropology and criminal behavior. The Individuality of Human Blood and Its Medico-Legal Demonstration was one of the Lattes’ many publications and papers.

Contribution to Forensic Science

An important figure in the development of the idea is that anthropology and a variety of other elements influence criminal conduct. Most importantly, he developed a method for determining blood grouping using dried bloodstains (A, B, AB, or O). Antibodies detected in bloodstains were identified as part of the technique. (It was first used in court in 1916, and it is still in use today.) Introduced the concept of forensic paternity (the identification of relatives to a corpse based on blood). The “mosaic of individual antigens” in human blood was described in detail.

Advancements for Forensics

The Second Case

In the second case, a man was charged with homicide after his jacket was covered in blood, which he claimed was caused by a nosebleed. The blood type was determined to be O, which was the man’s blood type and type A, which was the victim’s blood type. As a result, the man was able to help in proving his innocence.


The first case was a man who returned home with bloodstains on his shirt, prompting his wife to accuse him of cheating, despite the man’s vehement denial. To bring harmony to the family, Lattes agreed to test the blood on the shirt. Because the blood was determined to be human, the butcher shop theory was ruled out. The blood type was O, which was identical to the husbands. The allegations were found to be false.

According to Lattes’ account, the findings helped in the family’s reunion. Because the findings of the strains revealed a blood type that was not the same as the victim’s, the victim could be ruled out as a probable source. The fact that they had the same blood type as the suspect does not indicate that they are related to him; rather, it indicates that they are related to someone with blood type O. The results support the theory that the stains came from the suspect, but they don’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Type O people make up just about half of the population.

Lattes tests are used to detect ABO antibodies in bloodstains. Later, antigen-testing procedures were discovered, and Lattes tests became a backup or confirming method for determining blood type in dried bloodstains.

Because an individual’s blood type is unaffected by disease, medications, environment, occupation, living arrangements, or any other physical circumstance, forensic scientists frequently use procedures to detect blood types (blood typing). Scientists also use blood typing to determine paternity. A parent with the blood type AB, for example, could never produce a child with the blood type O. A man with type-AB blood cannot be the father of a type-O child born to a type-O mother.

Individual states in the United States updated their laws as the science behind blood types became more developed and widespread around the world. They began to adopt legislation that allowed courts to require witnesses to submit to compulsory blood group testing in criminal and civil trials. Many forensic experts employed blood group testing until DNA testing, which scientists believed more accurate and dependable, replaced it in the 1980s, even though it was still controversial.


Leon Lattes is primarily remembered for his contributions to the discipline of serology. He published two cases in 1916 that demonstrated the value of blood analysis in forensics. In particular, the enhanced Landsteiner’s work in ABO blood type by the use of antibodies.

The presence of particular antigens on the surface of red blood cells determines blood type. Antiserums were created to identify specific blood types. Antigens that recognize antiserum A are found in blood type A. Antigens found in blood type B recognize antiserum B. Each blood sample becomes clotted in the presence of the matching antiserum. When both of these antiserums are combined, blood type AB clots. Blood type O reacts with neither antiserum A nor antiserum B. Differences in blood type were not useful in forensic analysis until this method was discovered by Lattes in 1915.

It’s more difficult to evaluate dried blood than wet blood. Wet blood is required for several tests, such as those used to evaluate drug or alcohol levels. When blood is exposed to air, it dries in 3 to 5 minutes. The color of blood turns from red to brown as it dries.

With all of its changes, forensics has a lot of potentials to continue to help in the investigation of crimes and the justice system. It is a field that has evolved with the involvement of chemistry and biology. Physical evidence is presented and gathered at the crime scene, and it is then used in laboratories to pinpoint key details about the crime.

Forensic serology is the use of immunological and biochemical methods to determine the presence of body fluid or tissue samples found during a criminal investigation, as well as the possibility of further genetic characterization to determine potential donors. In criminal/medicolegal investigations, forensic serology is the study and examination of body fluids such as blood, semen, sweat, urine, saliva, feces, and other fluids primarily for identification purposes. It’s critical to determine the kind, origin, and other features of the blood/bloodstain at the crime scene. In this case, preliminary studies are being conducted to determine whether the recovered fluid is blood and whether it is of human origin.

Forensic science can expand and become more useful in common crimes. A simple breaking crime can be solved with the help of forensic science, which can help law enforcement and the court system pinpoint the culprit using fingerprints. This is just one example of how forensics can become increasingly beneficial to law enforcement and the judicial system.

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