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The presence of environmental human DNA within forensic vehicles

Lim, Jia Hui (2016) The presence of environmental human DNA within forensic vehicles. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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DNA profiling is an extremely useful tool in criminal investigations for the identifications of persons of interest or victims. Although initially a tedious process, it had developed to become rapid and automatable with the implementation of PCR and STR kits. STR kits have also become increasingly sensitive, which is useful for the analysis of trace DNA but increases the possibility of detecting low levels of contaminant DNA. This could result in the generation of mixed and/or unrelated profiles which would be difficult to interpret and could negatively affect the investigation outcome. DNA deposition is said to be dependent upon an individual’s shedding ability, although several authors had suggested that there are multiple other contributing factors such as diseases, increased sweating, and secondary transfer of DNA. Secondary transfer occurs when DNA is deposited onto a surface indirectly via vectors. The amount of DNA transferred is shown to be influenced by various characteristics such as the type, porosity, and manner and frequency of contact between the DNA-containing material, the vector(s) and the deposition surface. This literature review aims to assess the potential for contamination of evidence samples by background DNA. DNA contamination could have disastrous impacts on investigations, so it is imperative that measures are taken to ensure that cleaning regimes and standard operating procedures are followed to minimise DNA contamination. A new forensic standard ISO18385 was also produced to reduce the risk of manufacturer-related contamination in consumables and reagents used for DNA analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor(s): Chapman, Brendan
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