A new paper published in Forensic Science International suggests that the genetic profiling of short microRNA in samples taken at a crime scene may prove useful in identifying whether it is human bodily fluid. Current techniques of identification rely heavily on the identification of cell types through forensic serology, making this method unique for the field.
In forensic investigation, body fluids represent an important support to professionals when detected, collected and correctly identified. Through many years, various approaches were used, namely serology-based methodologies however, their lack of sensitivity and specificity became difficult to set aside. In order to sidetrack the problem, miRNA profiling surged with a real potential to be used to identify evidences like urine, blood, menstrual blood, saliva, semen and vaginal secretions. MiRNAs are small RNA structures with 20–25 nt whose proprieties makes them less prone to degradation processes when compared to mRNA which is extremely important once, in a crime scene, biological evidences might be exposed to several unfavorable environmental factors. Recently, published studies were able to identify some specific miRNAs, however their results were not always reproducible by others which can possibly be the reflection of different workflow strategies for their profiling studies. Given the current blast of interest in miRNAs, it is important to acknowledge potential limitations of miRNA profiling, yet, the lack of such studies are evident. This review pretends to gather all the information to date and assessed a multitude of factors that have a potential aptitude to discrediting miRNA profiling, such as: methodological approaches, environmental factors, physiological conditions, gender, pathologies and samples storage. It can be asserted that much has yet to be made, but we pretend to highlight a potential answer for the ultimate question: Can miRNA profiling be used as the forensic biomarker for body fluids identification?