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Phenotype Profiling for Forensic Purposes: Determining Donor Sex Based on Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy of Urine Traces

NCJ Number
Analytical Chemistry Volume: 91 Issue: 9 Dated: 2019 Pages: 6288-6295
Date Published
8 pages

This project demonstrated a method for determination of donor sex, based on attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR) spectroscopy of dry urine traces.


Forensic science is an important field of analytical chemistry where vibrational spectroscopy, in particular Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy, present advantages, since they have a nondestructive nature, high selectivity, and no need for sample preparation. Trace body fluid evidence is of special importance to the modern criminal investigation as a source of individualizing DNA evidence; however, individual identification of a urine donor is generally difficult because of the small amount of DNA. Therefore, the development of an innovative method to provide phenotype information about the urine donorincluding sexis highly desirable. The current study developed a multivariate discriminant model for the ATR FT-IR spectra of dry urine to identify the donor sex. Rigorous selection of significant wavenumbers on the spectrum using a genetic algorithm enabled superb discrimination performance for the model and conclusively indicated a chemical origin for donor sex differences, which was supported by physiological knowledge. Although further investigations need to be conducted, this proof-of-concept study demonstrates the great potential of the developed methodology for phenotype profiling based on the analysis of urine traces. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019