International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 387–395 | Cite as

Marker evaluation for differentiation of blood and menstrual fluid by methylation-sensitive SNaPshot analysis

  • Hannah Holtkötter
  • Kristina Schwender
  • Peter Wiegand
  • Heidi Pfeiffer
  • Marielle Vennemann
Original Article


The differentiation of blood and menstrual fluid is especially important in cases of alleged sexual assault. While the identification of blood is relatively straightforward, the identification of menstrual fluid in trace evidence has been shown to be more challenging. This may be due to the complex nature of menstrual fluid that leads to intra- and inter-individual differences in composition. Nevertheless, recent advances in DNA methylation profiling have revealed promising markers for the differentiation of the two body fluids and furthermore, markers to distinguish menstrual fluid from vaginal fluid. A literature study was performed and in total, 11 markers were evaluated in this study of which seven could be validated for menstrual fluid and blood identification purposes. Marker “BLU2” (chr16:29757334) was identified as most suitable for differentiation of blood and menstrual fluid.


Body fluids Blood Menstrual fluid Vaginal secretions Epigenetic markers DNA methylation 



We thank all donors for their participation in this project and the research group at King’s College London for providing us with additional semen samples. We also thank Kristina Schulze Johann, Sabrina Banken, Marianne Schürenkamp, and Ulla Sibbing for supporting this project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

414_2018_1770_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (503 kb)
Table S1 (PDF 503 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah Holtkötter
    • 1
  • Kristina Schwender
    • 1
  • Peter Wiegand
    • 2
  • Heidi Pfeiffer
    • 1
  • Marielle Vennemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of UlmUlmGermany

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