Volume 47, Issue 4 (July 2002)
Chemical Composition of Fingerprints for Gender Determination
This work investigates the chemical nature of fingerprints to ascertain whether differences in chemical composition or the existence of chemical markers can be used to determine personal traits, such as age, gender, and personal habits. This type of information could be useful for reducing the pool of potential suspects in criminal investigations when latent fingerprints are unsuitable for comparison by traditional methods. Fin-gertip residue that has been deposited onto a bead was extracted with a solvent such as chloroform. Samples were analyzed by gas chromatogra-phy/ mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The chemical components identified include fatty acids, long chain fatty acid esters, cholesterol and squalene. The area ratios of ten selected components relative to squalene were calculated for a small preliminary experiment that showed a slight gender dif-ference for three of these components. However, when the experiment was repeated with a larger, statistically designed experiment no significant differences between genders were detected for any of the component ratios. The multivariate Hotelling's T2 test that tested all ten-component ratios simultaneously also showed no gender differences at the 5% significance level.