Article: article from journal or magazin.
Differential DNA extraction of challenging simulated sexual assault samples: a Swiss collaborative study.
ABSTRACT: In sexual assault cases, autosomal DNA analysis of gynecological swabs is a challenge, as the presence of a large quantity of female material may prevent the detection of the male DNA. A solution to this problem is differential DNA extraction, but as there are different protocols, it was decided to test their efficiency on simulated casework samples. Four difficult samples were sent to the nine Swiss laboratories active in the forensic genetics. They used their routine protocols to separate the epithelial cell fraction, enriched with the non-sperm DNA, from the sperm fraction. DNA extracts were then sent to the organizing laboratory for analysis. Estimates of male to female DNA ratio without differential DNA extraction ranged from 1:38 to 1:339, depending on the semen used to prepare the samples. After differential DNA extraction, most of the ratios ranged from 1:12 to 9:1, allowing the detection of the male DNA. Compared to direct DNA extraction, cell separation resulted in losses of 94-98% of the male DNA. As expected, more male DNA was generally present in the sperm than in the epithelial cell fraction. However, for about 30% of the samples, the reverse trend was observed. The recovery of male and female DNA was highly variable depending on the laboratories. Experimental design similar to the one used in this study may help for local protocol testing and improvement.
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