The smell of your hand will give away your gender: scientists have made an unexpected discovery
The method can be useful in forensic medicine.
Scientists from the United States and Israel have developed a method that allows you to accurately determine the sex of a person by the smell of his hand. To do this, they used a special protein analyzer that recognizes the characteristic chemical compounds released from the skin. This method can be useful in forensic science when no other biological specimens are available.
The study involved 60 volunteers: 30 men and 30 women. They were asked not to wash their hands for at least an hour and then wipe their palms with a cotton swab. Thus, the scientists obtained hand odor samples, which were analyzed using mass spectrometry. This device allows you to determine the composition of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which make up the unique “chemical fingerprint” of each person.
The analysis showed that VOCs are associated with the hormonal balance and immune system of a person, as well as with his gender. Using various statistical methods, scientists were able to determine the sex of a person by the smell of his hand with an accuracy of 96 percent. At the same time, only two people out of 60 were erroneously identified.
Scientists suggest that the ability to distinguish between sexes by smell may have an evolutionary origin and help in choosing a partner or in assessing health status. They also hope that their method can be applied in judicial practice to search for suspects or victims by the traces of smell they left on objects or clothes.
However, before this method can be used in the real world, more research is needed to improve sample processing and validate statistical techniques.
The study was published in PLOS ONE magazine.