News from the Field

Does superglue fuming destroy DNA?

In the May-June 2008 issue of Evidence Technology, the article “Can You Find It?” made reference to the fact that it could be worth your time to send an item of evidence to the laboratory for DNA testing—even after it has been processed for latent prints using cyanoacrylate (superglue) fuming. This statement raised eyebrows for some readers who had gotten the opposite impression through word of mouth or from talking with their own forensic laboratory. It is always best to communicate with your laboratory and follow their guidelines and standard operating procedures. To clear up any confusion, however, here are some references that may be useful:

• C. Roux, et al. “A Further Study to Investigate the Effect of Fingerprint Enhancement Techniques on the DNA Analysis of Bloodstains,” Journal of Forensic Identification, Vol. 49, No. 4 (1999).

• E. Shipp, et al. “Effects of Argon Laser Light, Alternate Source Light and Cyanoacrylate Fuming on DNA Typing of Human Bloodstains,” Journal of Forensic Science, Vol. 38, No. 1 (1993).

• C. Stein, et al. “DNA Typing of Fingerprint Reagent Treated Biological Stains,” Journal of Forensic Science, Vol. 41, No. 6 (1996).

• P. Newall, et al. “Homicide Case Report: Successful Ampli-fication and STR Typing of Bloodstains Subjected to Fingerprint Treatment by Cyanoacrylate Fuming,” Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal, Vol. 29, No. 1 (1996).

• T. Spear, et al. “Summary of Experiments Investigating the Impact of Fingerprint Processing and Fingerprint Reagents on PCR-based DNA Typing Profiles,” available as a PDF download from the California Association of Criminalists website:

• T. Spear. “Summary of the Impact of Fingerprint Reagents on the Ability to Obtain Typing Results Using PCR-Based DNA Methods or Conventional Typing Methods,” available as a PDF download from the California Association of Criminalists website:

If you have had any luck—good or bad—getting DNA profiles from evidence processed with superglue fuming (or any other fingerprint development technique), we would love to hear about it so we could share your experiences with the rest of our readers. Send your comments to our editor, Kristi Mayo:
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  July-August 2008 (Volume 6, Number 4)
Evidence Technology Magazine
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Item of Interest

The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)