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Non-Toxic Fluorescent Spray Reveals Fingerprints in Seconds

by Douglas Ankney

A team of scientists from China’s Shanghai Normal University in collaboration with scientists from the United Kingdom’s University of Bath have developed a fluorescent spray that reveals fingerprints in seconds without compromising any potential DNA evidence. The dyes used in the spray are manufactured from “Green Fluorescent Protein” (“GFP”)—a protein found in jellyfish currently used extensively by research scientists to visualize biological processes. Because GFP is biologically compatible, the dyes do not interfere with subsequent DNA analysis of the prints.

The scientists have created dyes of two different colors: LFP-Yellow and LFP-Red. These dyes bind selectively with the negatively charged molecules found in fingerprints. Once the dye molecules are locked in place, they emit a fluorescent glow that is visible under blue light. Having two colors permits use of the dyes on different colored surfaces. But the scientists hope to produce multiple colors in the future.

The fine dye spray works on rough surfaces, capturing prints on bricks and other areas where traditional methods, such as powders, are not as effective. The spray does not splash, which prevents damage to the prints.   



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