Chemical Analysis of Latent Fingerprints Can Detect Gender

Chemical Analysis of Latent Fingerprints Can Detect GenderA relatively simple chemical test can determine whether a latent fingerprint is from a man or a woman, according to some new research. In a paper published in the Analytical Chemistry journal, researchers from the State University of New York discussed their findings.

The test looks at the levels of certain amino acids residual in the fingerprints. Women tend to have twice as much of these amino acids as men do, and so their fingerprints contain much higher levels; thus, by analyzing the levels of these amino acids in fingerprints, the researchers were able to determine whether they were left by men or women. And while the researchers acknowledge that they must run further experiments with greater sample sizes than the few they had to work with, they appear to be confident in their method, which worked on fingerprints collected from a variety of surfaces.

It’s a novel twist on standard biometric fingerprint analysis. While forensic investigators increasingly use fingerprint scanners that focus on the shape and patterns of prints, chemical analysis is less common for identification purposes. And while modern scanners are able to match latent fingerprints to known suspects, this new chemical process could help investigators in situations where fingerprints were left by an individual whose fingerprint biometrics aren’t available in any databases.

Source: The Times of India

November 23, 2015 – by Alex Perala