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Chemical Differences Are Observed in Children Versus Adults' Latent Fingerprints as a Function of Time

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 55 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 513-518
Kimone M. Antoine, B.S.; Shirin Mortazavi; Angela D. Miller, M.S.; Lisa M. Miller, Ph.D.
Date Published
March 2010
6 pages
The identification of aged latent fingerprints is often difficult, especially for those of children. To understand this phenomenon, the chemical composition of children's versus adults' latent fingerprints was examined over time using Fourier transform infrared microscopy.
Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed that children's and adults' prints were distinguishable for up to 4 weeks after deposition, based on differences in sebum composition. Specifically, adults had a higher lipid content than children, but both decreased over time, attributable to the volatility of free fatty acids. The aliphatic CH3, aliphatic CH2, and carbonyl ester compositions changed differently in adults versus children over time, consistent with higher cholesterol and cholesteryl esters in children's prints and wax esters and glycerides in adults' prints. Thus, fingerprint composition changes with time differently in children versus adults, making it a sensitive metric to estimate the age of an individual, especially when the age of the print is known. Table, figures, and references (Published Abstract)


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