Observations of DNA transfer within an operational Forensic Biology Laboratory

Forensic Summary by Marissa Felinczak

The article Observations of DNA transfer within an operational Forensic Biology Laboratory discusses transfer involving low quantities of DNA. Low quantities of DNA are no longer a limitation in DNA analysis due to new technology and advancements in the field of forensic science. The general population is no longer questioning that DNA analysis is feasible, but they are questioning how the DNA came to be on an object. With DNA transfer being a relatively new idea, people are questioning whether the results are a good source of evidence. There is also questions about the persistence of biological materials and the ability of a person to be a “good shedder”.

The whole idea of transfer puts even more pressure on forensic laboratories to insure that quality of their work. Since transfer of DNA readily happens, it is not far off to say that forensic laboratories could potentially be contaminating their samples, therefore further precautions must be taken by those who work in the lab. It also must be understood that there are different degrees of transfer. The first is primary transfer, when a person touches an object and said person’s DNA is now on the object. Secondary transfer is when an object contains DNA and then comes into a new object and now that object has DNA on it. The probability of finding DNA on a primary transfer object is much higher than the probability of finding DNA on a secondary transfer object and so on. Overall, DNA evidence is now being questioned because of the idea of DNA transfer.

Taylor, Duncan et al. Observations of DNA transfer within an operational Forensic Biology Laboratory. Forensic Science International: Genetics. 2015. doi:10.1016/j.fsigen.2016.02.011

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