Risk of DNA transfer by gloves in forensic casework

Forensic Summary by Marissa Felinczak

The article Risk of DNA Transfer by Gloves in Forensic Casework discusses contamination. DNA contamination is a huge risk if forensic laboratories across the world. The idea of DNA transfer has escalated the importance of quality assurance within a laboratory—therefore putting an increased focus on those whom work in the laboratory. DNA extraction and analysis has also gotten more sensitive which means lower quantities of DNA can now be detected, so increased transfer events can now be detected. DNA transfer can either be direct transfer or indirect transfer. Direct transfer is when DNA comes into contact with an object or is in the vicinity of an object. Direct transfer includes speaking and coughing. Indirect transfer is when “DNA from an individual comes to be on an item via an intermediary surface”.

Contamination within a laboratory can happen through many different circumstances including unprotected speaking, improper use of gloves or lack of gloves, and ineffective cleaning procedures. Gloves can be very effective at reducing the risk of contamination if used properly and changed regularly, but often this does not happen. This creates a large source of contamination within the laboratory and if the evidence is contaminated, it can no longer be used in a court of law. Therefore, it is important to maintain the quality within a lab in order to reduce t the risk of contamination.

Margiotta, Gabriele et al. Risk of DNA transfer by gloves in forensic casework. Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series. 2015.doi:10.1016/j.fsigss.2015.09.208

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