Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fingerprints Show More Than Just Swirls and Loops

by blogger klv

Fingerprints can reveal identity, but what else can be found? A research team at Purdue has developed a method to determine chemical composition of trace residues left in fingerprints. Lifted prints are analyzed by mass spectrometry and show more than just fingerprint patterns. The compounds found in the print can then be used to separate a print of interest from another overlying fingerprint.

"The classic example of a fingerprint is an ink imprint showing the unique swirls and loops used for identification, but fingerprints also leave behind a unique distribution of molecular compounds," Cooks said. "Some of the residues left behind are from naturally occurring compounds in the skin and some are from other surfaces or materials a person has touched."


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Anonymous said...

How is this new discovery going to help with criminal justice? Fingerprints already are distinctive to each individual. Even identical twins have different fingerprints.
The only way I can see this helping the cj system is if a print is too smeared to identify and the "naturally occurring compounds" can be used to id the perp. But this will only be helpful if these compounds are distinctive to the individual or can they be the same in different people?

Anonymous said...

How is this discovery helpful to the cj system? Fingerprints are distinctive to the individual.

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