This project used Raman spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis to develop a nondestructive technique that could be used at a crime scene to determine the sex of a saliva donor.
The forensic analysis of body fluids has made great strides in recent years. Body fluids can easily be identified, and DNA analysis can be used to link a stain found at a crime scene to a specific person. When no reference DNA profile is available and the recovered DNA does not yield a match in a database, it would be useful if the evidence could still provide investigators with useful information. Biocatalytic and immunoassays can be used to determine a donor's sex, race, and other phenotypic characteristics; however, these tests depend on chemical reactions and are destructive to the sample. The current study's internally cross-validated classification model correctly identified 44 (92 percent) of the 48 donors used for model training. Subsequent external validation correctly identified 11 (92 percent) of the 12 donors saved for testing. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates the value of Raman spectroscopy as a forensic tool that can be used to elucidate phenotypic information about a body-fluid donor. Future studies will expand to other body fluids and additional donor characteristics, such as race and age. 1 graphical abstract (Publisher abstract modified)