Hair can retain important biological traces for forensic investigations. Forensic scientists are used to looking for such traces on clothing and skin of victims, however, when decomposition kicks in and all that remains of the victims is the skeleton, hair may be the only tissue representing the surface of the body at the time of a crime on which biological traces of an aggressor may have been left and still be detectable. Given the lack of research on this topic, this pilot study aims to assess the capacity of hair to retain semen and blood in hair, and the possibility to detect these fluids with well-known techniques and to obtain a useful genetic profile even when exposed to environmental conditions (Open Natural Environment (woods), Open Man Made Environment (urban)) for three months. Results showed that both traces were always visible and detectable with almost all techniques in the Control Environment, while in the two open environments some difficulties arose. However, biomolecular analysis was effective up to three months on both fluids in the Natural Environment and up to two months and one week respectively on blood and semen in the Man Made Environment. The Combur Test, OBTI, and Luminol were effective on blood up to three months in both environments while Sperm-HY-Liter and observation of cellular components were effective on semen up to at least 1 month and PSA testing was positive up to 1 week in both environments. The present work can be considered an encouraging starting point for the analysis of biological traces on hair in forensic contexts, regardless of the PMI, since blood and semen related to a crime may survive.

Blood and sperm traces on human hair. a study on preservation and detection after 3-month outdoor exposure / G. Caccia, A. Cappella, E. Castoldi, A. Marino, D. Colloca, A. Amadasi, M. Caccianiga, G. Lago, C. Cattaneo. - In: SCIENCE & JUSTICE. - ISSN 1355-0306. - 61:6(2021), pp. 657-666. [10.1016/j.scijus.2021.08.001]

Blood and sperm traces on human hair. a study on preservation and detection after 3-month outdoor exposure

G. Caccia;A. Cappella;M. Caccianiga;C. Cattaneo
2021

Abstract

Hair can retain important biological traces for forensic investigations. Forensic scientists are used to looking for such traces on clothing and skin of victims, however, when decomposition kicks in and all that remains of the victims is the skeleton, hair may be the only tissue representing the surface of the body at the time of a crime on which biological traces of an aggressor may have been left and still be detectable. Given the lack of research on this topic, this pilot study aims to assess the capacity of hair to retain semen and blood in hair, and the possibility to detect these fluids with well-known techniques and to obtain a useful genetic profile even when exposed to environmental conditions (Open Natural Environment (woods), Open Man Made Environment (urban)) for three months. Results showed that both traces were always visible and detectable with almost all techniques in the Control Environment, while in the two open environments some difficulties arose. However, biomolecular analysis was effective up to three months on both fluids in the Natural Environment and up to two months and one week respectively on blood and semen in the Man Made Environment. The Combur Test, OBTI, and Luminol were effective on blood up to three months in both environments while Sperm-HY-Liter and observation of cellular components were effective on semen up to at least 1 month and PSA testing was positive up to 1 week in both environments. The present work can be considered an encouraging starting point for the analysis of biological traces on hair in forensic contexts, regardless of the PMI, since blood and semen related to a crime may survive.
Blood; DNA; Environment; Forensic anthropology; Hair; Sperm
Settore BIO/08 - Antropologia
Settore MED/43 - Medicina Legale
Settore BIO/16 - Anatomia Umana
SCIENCE & JUSTICE
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/863611
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