Unlocking the potential of forensic traces: Analytical approaches to generate investigative leads

Alvaro Varela Morillas, Klaus Suhling, Nunzianda Frascione*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


Forensic investigation involves gathering the information necessary to understand the criminal events as well as linking objects or individuals to an item, location or other individual(s) for investigative purposes. For years techniques such as presumptive chemical tests, DNA profiling or fingermark analysis have been of great value to this process. However, these techniques have their limitations, whether it is a lack of confidence in the results obtained due to cross-reactivity, subjectivity and low sensitivity; or because they are dependent on holding reference samples in a pre-existing database. There is currently a need to devise new ways to gather as much information as possible from a single trace, particularly from biological traces commonly encountered in forensic casework. This review outlines the most recent advancements in the forensic analysis of biological fluids, fingermarks and hair. Special emphasis is placed on analytical methods that can expand the information obtained from the trace beyond what is achieved in the usual practices. Special attention is paid to those methods that accurately determine the nature of the sample, as well as how long it has been at the crime scene, along with individualising information regarding the donor source of the trace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-326
Number of pages17
JournalScience & Justice, Journal of the Forensic Science Society (Elsevier)
Issue number3
Early online date21 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2022


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