Although techniques for DNA analysis of forensic samples have evolved considerably in recent years, the methods used to identify particular body fluids in forensic casework have remained relatively unchanged over the same time period. This year, one of the workshops offered at the International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI; to be held in Seattle from October 2-5), will be focused on current and emerging techniques for body fluid identification that promise change—applying molecular genetics and proteomics analysis to the problem of body fluid identification.
According to the ISHI conference website, the purpose of the workshop is to “highlight current serology methods using critical case examples while also exploring emerging methods that could complement or replace these traditional techniques”.
Traditional serological techniques used for detection of body fluids are variable and labor intensive. These include detection of proteins specific to or enriched in particular fluids such as hemoglobin (blood), or alkaline phosphatase and PSA (semen). Over the last few years detection methods based on tissue-specific expression of microRNAs, small non-coding RNAs, and utilizing techniques such as RT-qPCR and mass spectrometry have been proposed as promising alternatives or complementary detection methods.
Chaired by Toni Diegoli, of the Defense Forensic Science Center/ANSER, the workshop is intended for forensic DNA analysts, technical leaders, and directors in laboratories performing or considering performing serology testing for body fluid identification. Speakers include experts in forensic serology, mass spectrometry and microRNA analysis as well as in forensic casework, forensic genetics, bioinformatics and comparative proteomics.
The workshop will be held on October 2. If you are interested, sign up before August 1st for discounted pricing. Here is a link to more details, if you would like to learn more about the topic and speakers.