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BMB Rep. 2012 Oct;45(10):545-53.

Body fluid identification in forensics.

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Department of Forensic Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.


Determination of the type and origin of the body fluids found at a crime scene can give important insights into crime scene reconstruction by supporting a link between sample donors and actual criminal acts. For more than a century, numerous types of body fluid identification methods have been developed, such as chemical tests, immunological tests, protein catalytic activity tests, spectroscopic methods and microscopy. However, these conventional body fluid identification methods are mostly presumptive, and are carried out for only one body fluid at a time. Therefore, the use of a molecular genetics-based approach using RNA profiling or DNA methylation detection has been recently proposed to supplant conventional body fluid identification methods. Several RNA markers and tDMRs (tissue-specific differentially methylated regions) which are specific to forensically relevant body fluids have been identified, and their specificities and sensitivities have been tested using various samples. In this review, we provide an overview of the present knowledge and the most recent developments in forensic body fluid identification and discuss its possible practical application to forensic casework.

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