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Recovering DNA from Challenging Forensic Evidence

New study shows it is possible to recover DNA from duct tape that has been submerged in water for up to two weeks

by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Duct tape and items retrieved from the water are common pieces of evidence in forensic cases. A new study evaluates the recovery of DNA from folded duct tape that has been submerged in ocean water for up to two weeks. The study is published in the peer reviewed journal Forensic Genomics.

Joseph Donfack, PhD, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory Division, and coauthor showed that it is possible to recover enough DNA to yield a complete short tandem repeat (STR) profile from folded duct tape that has been submerged in ocean water for up to two weeks if the initial amount of cellular material is sufficient. They concluded that "the durability and adhesive nature of duct tape seem to provide protection to cellular material on its surface while submerged in aqueous environments."

Also published in the current issue of Forensic Genomics is the article entitled "Genes, Race, Ancestry, and Identity in Forensic Anthropology: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Concerns," by Amy Michael, PhD, University of New Hampshire, Jennifer Bengtson, PhD, Southeast Missouri State University, and Samantha Blatt, PhD, Idaho State University. "As anthropologists who collaborate with Forensic Genomics experts, we are interested in considering how debates within anthropological circles might inform—or be informed by—detailed biogeographical ancestry estimates generated as part of forensic genomic analyses," state the authors. "In this article, we summarize the history of the race concept in anthropology and contemporary debates about ancestry estimation occurring more specifically among forensic anthropologists." The proper assessment of biogeographical ancestry can be key for identifying unknown persons from forensic evidence.

- This press release was originally published on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. website