Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is applied to investigate the effect of diabetes mellitus (DM) on the elemental composition of fingernails. Measurements are carried out on 85 fingernail clippings including 51 diabetic and 34 control subjects. An auto-focus system has been designed and used in experiments to improve the repeatability of LIBS measurements. Classification of diabetic and nondiabetic subjects is examined using discriminant function analysis (DFA) method. This classification is based on 82 atomic, ionic, and molecular emission lines belonging to 13 elements as well as one molecule of fingernails. Emission lines that can be used as the best predictors are identified. The possibility of using this method for screening purposes is discussed based on the classification results. This preliminary work shows the ability of LIBS of fingernails in discrimination of DM patients and nondiabetic subjects using DFA method and its feasibility in screening purposes.