Volume 45, Issue 2 (March 2000)
Fingerprint Enhancement Revisited and the Effects of Blood Enhancement Chemicals on Subsequent Profiler Plus™ Fluorescent Short Tandem Repeat DNA Analysis of Fresh and Aged Bloody Fingerprints
This study was aimed at determining the effect of seven blood enhancement reagents on the subsequent Profiler Plus™ fluorescent STR DNA analysis of fresh or aged bloody fingerprints deposited on various porous and nonporous surfaces. Amido Black, Crowle's Double Stain, 1,8-diazafluoren-9-one (DFO), Hungarian Red, leucomalachite green, luminol and ninhydrin were tested on linoleum, glass, metal, wood (pine, painted white), clothing (85% polyester/15% cotton, 65% polyester/35% cotton, and blue denim) and paper (Scott® 2-ply and Xerox-grade). Preliminary experiments were designed to determine the optimal blood dilutions to use to ensure a DNA typing result following chemical enhancement. A 1:200 blood dilution deposited on linoleum and enhanced with Crowle's Double Stain generated enough DNA for one to two rounds of Profiler Plus™ PCR amplification. A comparative study of the DNA yields before and after treatment indicated that the quantity of DNA recovered from bloody fingerprints following enhancement was reduced by a factor of 2 to 12. Such a reduction in the DNA yields could potentially compromise DNA typing analysis in the case of small stains. The blood enhancement chemicals selected were also evaluated for their capability to reveal bloodmarks on the various porous and nonporous surfaces chosen in this study. Luminol, Amido Black and Crowle's Double Stain showed the highest sensitivity of all seven chemicals tested and revealed highly diluted (1:200) bloody fingerprints. Both luminol and Amido Black produced excellent results on both porous and nonporous surfaces, but Crowle's Double Stain failed to produce any results on porous substrates. Hungarian Red, DFO, leucomalachite green and ninhydrin showed lower sensitivities. Enhancement of bloodmarks using any of the chemicals selected, and short-term exposure to these same chemicals (i.e., less than 54 days), had no adverse effects on the PCR amplification of the nine STR systems surveyed (D3S1358, HumvWA, HumFGA, D8S1179, D21S11, D18S51, D5S818, D13S317, D7S820) or of the gender determination marker Amelogenin. The intensity of the fluorescent signals was very similar and the allele size measurements remained constant and identical to those of untreated bloody fingerprints. No additional background fluorescence was noted. Continuous exposure (for 54 days) to two of the seven enhancement chemicals selected (i.e., Crowle's Double Stain and Hungarian Red) slightly reduced the amplification efficiency of the longer STR loci in profiles of fresh and 7 to 14-day-old bloodprints. This suggests that long-term exposure to these chemicals possibly affects the integrity of the DNA molecules. This study indicates that significant evidence can be obtained from fresh or aged bloody fingerprints applied to a variety of absorbent and nonabsorbent surfaces which are exposed to different enhancement chemicals for short or long periods of time. It also reaffirms that PCR STR DNA typing procedures are robust and provide excellent results when used in concert with fluorescence-based detection assays after fingerprint identification has taken place.