"This method will be a game-changer for forensics, and while we've made a lot of progress toward proving it, there are steps to go before this new technique will be able to reach its full potential." The work of LLNL scientists, a researcher with Utah-based Protein-Based Identification Technologies, LLC and other collaborators is described in a paper published today in , a San Francisco-based peer reviewed online scientific journal.
The researchers believe that the number of individual protein markers that can be used to differentiate people could go as high as 1,000.
Protein markers also can be found in other tissue types, such as shed skin cells, bones and teeth, and the scientists have started studying how people can be identified using the latter two tissues.
Using their current sample sizes, the researchers are able to find enough markers to provide a unique pattern for an individual that would distinguish that person among a population of 1 million.
Glendon Parker, a biochemist with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Forensic Science Center, examines a 250-year-old archaeological hair sample that has been analyzed for human identification using protein markers from the hair.
Researchers from LLNL and a Utah startup company have developed the first-ever biological identification method that exploits the information encoded in proteins of human hair.