Assessing the impact of common forensic presumptive tests on the ability to obtain results using a novel rapid DNA platform.

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Donachie, GE ; Dawnay, N ; Ahmed, R ; Naif, S ; Duxbury, NJ ; Tribble, ND

The rise of DNA evidence to the forefront of forensic science has led to high sample numbers being submitted for profiling by investigators to casework laboratories: bottleneck effects are often seen resulting in slow turnaround times and sample backlog. The ParaDNA(®) Screening and Intelligence Tests have been designed to guide investigators on the viability of potential sources of DNA allowing them to determine which samples should be sent for full DNA analysis. Both tests are designed to augment the arsenal of available forensic tests for end users and be used concurrently to those commonly available. Therefore, assessing the impact that common forensic tests have on such novel technology is important to measure. The systems were tested against various potential inhibitors to which samples may be exposed as part of the investigative process. Presumptive test agents for biological materials (blood, semen and saliva) and those used as fingerprint enhancement agents were both used. The Screening Test showed a drop in performance following application of aluminium powder and cyanoacrylate (CNA) on fingerprints samples; however this drop in performance was not replicated with high template DNA. No significant effect was observed for any agent using the Intelligence Test. Therefore, both tests stand up well to the chemical agents applied and can be used by investigators with confidence that system performance will be maintained.
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