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WIREs Forensic Sci

The characteristics of seminal fluid and the forensic tests available to identify it

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Abstract Semen body fluid identification remains a critical aspect of the forensic investigation of alleged sexual assaults. Over the years, as advancements have been made in the area of forensic science, several different methods for semen identification have been utilized. It is not unusual for several methods of semen identification to be incorporated into a single sexual assault investigation. Most methods of semen identification are based on either detecting enzymatic activities or are targeted at specific cells or antigens. Other methods have evolved utilizing fluorescence or protein expression. Presumptive tests are often used to screen or locate semen staining. Further confirmatory tests can be used to identify the staining as semen and finally the donor of the stain can be further identified through DNA analysis. For routine application of these methods, they need to be specific, sensitive, cost effective, easy to use, and nondestructive. Although new techniques are being researched, it appears that traditional methods of semen identification remain the most widely applied in forensic casework. This article is categorized under: Forensic Biology > Body Fluid Identification

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