Proteomics as a new tool to study fingermark ageing in forensics

Stijn Oonk, Tom Schuurmans, Martin Pabst, Louis C.P.M. de Smet, Marcel de Puit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Fingermarks are trace evidence of great forensic importance, and their omnipresence makes them pivotal in crime investigation. Police and law enforcement authorities have exploited fingermarks primarily for personal identification, but crucial knowledge on when fingermarks were deposited is often lacking, thereby hindering crime reconstruction. Biomolecular constituents of fingermark residue, such as amino acids, lipids and proteins, may provide excellent means for fingermark age determination, however robust methodologies or detailed knowledge on molecular mechanisms in time are currently not available. Here, we address fingermark age assessment by: (i) drafting a first protein map of fingermark residue, (ii) differential studies of fresh and aged fingermarks and (iii), to mimic real-world scenarios, estimating the effects of donor contact with bodily fluids on the identification of potential age biomarkers. Using a high-resolution mass spectrometry-based proteomics approach, we drafted a characteristic fingermark proteome, of which five proteins were identified as promising candidates for fingermark age estimation. This study additionally demonstrates successful identification of both endogenous and contaminant proteins from donors that have been in contact with various bodily fluids. In summary, we introduce state-of-the-art proteomics as a sensitive tool to monitor fingermark aging on the protein level with sufficient selectivity to differentiate potential age markers from body fluid contaminants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16425
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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