A Virginia Commonwealth University researcher has developed a procedure for identifying the source of cells present in a forensic biological sample that could change how cell types are identified in samples across numerous industries.
Many traditional techniques for distinguishing between saliva, blood, skin or vaginal tissue in an evidence sample are based on microchemical reactions that can be prone to false-positive or false-negative results, according to the researcher, Christopher Ehrhardt, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Forensic Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences. Additionally, they may be difficult to use on aged or heavily degraded samples.
“The information is often limited,” Ehrhardt said. “And when using conventional methods, you have to be prepared to consume part of the sample in most cases, which decreases the value of it.”