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Sampling techniques for the recovery of male offender DNA from the female victim skin surfaces

Galgey, NeilJames (2021) Sampling techniques for the recovery of male offender DNA from the female victim skin surfaces. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Sexual assault is a very serious criminal offence with great health and welfare repercussions. Trace DNA is often referred to as the minute quantities of DNA that can be transferred between a victim, perpetrator and/or the crime scene during an assault. Often in a sexual assault case the victim’s body is the most important crime scene and sometimes the only available crime scene. Because of this it is critically important to successfully take a DNA sample after the assault. There has only been one unpublished study that has touched on the comparison of all available sampling techniques. This study aimed to compare and analyse five sampling techniques consisting of double swabbing, single swabbing, tape-lifting, mini tape-lifting and alcohol wipes which was a somewhat new method. To do this, a scenario where saliva from the male offender is found on the female victim’s neck was conducted for this study.

While the results were considerably contaminated, it was found that double swabbing obtained the highest DNA concentration of samples when compared to the other four methods. Also, these contaminated results also provided somewhat promising results in the use of tape-lifting, mini tape-lifting and alcohol wipes. But these methodologies would need to be verified via future peer reviewed research as these contaminated results were unhelpful in providing an idea of what these results were but cannot conclusively support any of the hypotheses provided. Overall, this study did not find anything ground breaking due to the largely contaminated results of this study, but it is imperative that follow-up research takes place to provide verification that while these results were contaminated something of value may have been found. Unfortunately, nothing of any statistical significance was found due to the contamination and hence in the future great care when moving samples from tube to the well plate should be taken to minimise the risk of contamination.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Supervisor(s): Chapman, Brendan
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