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Intentional Mixed Buccal Cell Reference Sample in a Paternity Case

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We report a case where an alleged father (AF) attempted to substitute someone else's saliva sample for his reference sample in a paternity analysis. Buccal cells were collected from the AF and the child, and DNA analysis was performed using an autosomal STR loci (Identifiler®). The profile from the AF showed extra peaks in some loci, as well as a much higher “X” allele peak relative to the “Y” allele peak at the amelogenin locus. After conducting reanalysis by another technician with another set of positive and negative controls, it was concluded that the only source of the mixed profile was by intentional introduction by the AF, at the time of sampling, of some foreign human biological material, most likely saliva from a woman. Owing to the inconclusive results, when the AF was called back to the lab and the peculiar results were explained to him, he admitted that he had introduced into his mouth saliva from another person in an attempt to be excluded as the father of the child. Although tampering with DNA reference samples is not common, some individuals may attempt to contaminate or otherwise adulterate specimens before DNA tests. Personnel responsible for sampling should be aware of this possibility and should try to establish procedures to avoid the problem.

Keywords: STRs; forensic science; intentional contamination; paternity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Genetic Identification, Department of Legal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Granada 18012 Granada, Spain. 2: FBI Laboratory 2501 Investigation Parkway Quantico, VA.

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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