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Is it possible to predict the origin of epithelial cells? – A comparison of secondary transfer of skin epithelial cells versus vaginal mucous membrane cells by direct contact


Bouzga, Mariam M; Dørum, Guro; Gundersen, Kristian; Kohler, P; Hoff-Olsen, Per; Fonneløp, Ane E (2020). Is it possible to predict the origin of epithelial cells? – A comparison of secondary transfer of skin epithelial cells versus vaginal mucous membrane cells by direct contact. Science & Justice, 60(3):234-242.

Abstract

In alleged sexual assault and rape cases, the focus has often been to collect samples from the victim's body, for detection of body fluids or skin cells from the offender. But in many cases intimate body samples from the perpetrator(s) can also be informative. However, in cases where the female victim claims vaginal penetration, the defendant may display an alternative explanation to the DNA findings, i.e. that the victim’s skin cells has been secondarily transferred to his penis. We hypothesized that female DNA will be detected in a significantly greater amount on swabs from penis after intercourse than after secondary transfer by skin contact.
Fourteen male-female couples were recruited to test the above hypothesis, by collecting penile swabs from 3 specified anatomical locations: Glans, shaft, and the coronal sulcus, after two different situations: Vaginal intercourse and secondary transfer of epithelial cells by skin contact. The results show that penile swabs following intercourse produce significantly higher DNA concentrations than after secondary transfer by skin contact. Our results, indicates which of the anatomical regions is best suited for sampling. The DNA profiling results show a preponderance of female profiles over male profiles following intercourse compared to secondary skin contact.
Based on these data, it is possible to make a statistical model to distinguish between samples taken after intercourse and samples taken after secondary transfer by skin contact based on the amount of female DNA and mixture proportion (Mx) between female and male DNA in samples collected from penis swabs.

Abstract

In alleged sexual assault and rape cases, the focus has often been to collect samples from the victim's body, for detection of body fluids or skin cells from the offender. But in many cases intimate body samples from the perpetrator(s) can also be informative. However, in cases where the female victim claims vaginal penetration, the defendant may display an alternative explanation to the DNA findings, i.e. that the victim’s skin cells has been secondarily transferred to his penis. We hypothesized that female DNA will be detected in a significantly greater amount on swabs from penis after intercourse than after secondary transfer by skin contact.
Fourteen male-female couples were recruited to test the above hypothesis, by collecting penile swabs from 3 specified anatomical locations: Glans, shaft, and the coronal sulcus, after two different situations: Vaginal intercourse and secondary transfer of epithelial cells by skin contact. The results show that penile swabs following intercourse produce significantly higher DNA concentrations than after secondary transfer by skin contact. Our results, indicates which of the anatomical regions is best suited for sampling. The DNA profiling results show a preponderance of female profiles over male profiles following intercourse compared to secondary skin contact.
Based on these data, it is possible to make a statistical model to distinguish between samples taken after intercourse and samples taken after secondary transfer by skin contact based on the amount of female DNA and mixture proportion (Mx) between female and male DNA in samples collected from penis swabs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
510 Mathematics
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pathology and Forensic Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pathology and Forensic Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 May 2020
Deposited On:01 Feb 2021 09:12
Last Modified:02 Feb 2021 21:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1355-0306
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2020.02.003
PubMed ID:32381240

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