UK scientists have used mass spectroscopy to determine the sex of a perpetrator from the peptides in fingerprints left at a crime scene.
Simona Francese from Sheffield Hallam University explains that peptides naturally present in sweat and their relative abundance are distinctive for one sex or the other. Francese and her team used matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation mass spectrometry to detect the peptides and their relative abundance from fingerprint samples. ‘Results can be obtained in 10 minutes from sample preparation to data acquisition and analysis with 85% accuracy,’ says Francese.
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Direct detection of peptides and small proteins in fingermarks and determination of sex by MALDI mass spectrometry profiling
Leesa Susanne Ferguson, Florian Wulfert, Rosalind Wolstenholme, Judith Marlou Fonville, Malcolm Ronald Clench, Vikki Amanda Carolan and Simona Francese
Analyst, 2012,137, 4686-4692