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Who and How: Comprehensive RNA-Based BodyfluID Assay to Provide Context to a Recovered DNA Profile

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Technical Report,01 Sep 2012,14 Jun 2015

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University of Central Florida Orlando

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Increasingly, conventional methods for body fluid identification are being supplanted by the facile and routine identification of human DNA in the sample. Proponents of this approach argue that the presence of human DNA from a particular individual is sufficient for most purposes and that the cell type from which the DNA originated is inconsequential or that present methods are non-specific. While the ability to bypass conventional body fluid identification tests is appealing due to a perceived increase in operational efficiency, there are a number of case scenarios where body fluid identification per se would provide important probative evidence. For example, consider a sexual assault on a female victim with an object recovered from the suspect where the victims DNA is recovered from the object. He could claim that the victim handled the item during a casual encounter and this explains why her DNA was present. However, the significance of this evidence would increase if the DNA could be shown to originate from vaginal cells, a circumstance that would be consistent with a sexual encounter but not with casual handling. Currently there are no routinely used means by which to distinguish the presence of vaginal secretions or skin. Therefore, the inability to conclusively identify the context in which a recovered DNA profile was deposited may allow perpetrators to exploit the uncertainty of the origin of this evidence.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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