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19.01.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2017

International Journal of Legal Medicine 4/2017

Advanced forensic validation for human spermatozoa identification using SPERM HY-LITER™ Express with quantitative image analysis

International Journal of Legal Medicine > Ausgabe 4/2017
Ayari Takamura, Ken Watanabe, Tomoko Akutsu


Identification of human semen is indispensable for the investigation of sexual assaults. Fluorescence staining methods using commercial kits, such as the series of SPERM HY-LITER™ kits, have been useful to detect human sperm via strong fluorescence. These kits have been examined from various forensic aspects. However, because of a lack of evaluation methods, these studies did not provide objective, or quantitative, descriptions of the results nor clear criteria for the decisions reached. In addition, the variety of validations was considerably limited. In this study, we conducted more advanced validations of SPERM HY-LITER™ Express using our established image analysis method. Use of this method enabled objective and specific identification of fluorescent sperm’s spots and quantitative comparisons of the sperm detection performance under complex experimental conditions. For body fluid mixtures, we examined interference with the fluorescence staining from other body fluid components. Effects of sample decomposition were simulated in high humidity and high temperature conditions. Semen with quite low sperm concentrations, such as azoospermia and oligospermia samples, represented the most challenging cases in application of the kit. Finally, the tolerance of the kit against various acidic and basic environments was analyzed. The validations herein provide useful information for the practical applications of the SPERM HY-LITER™ Express kit, which were previously unobtainable. Moreover, the versatility of our image analysis method toward various complex cases was demonstrated.

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