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Methods for Obtaining STR Quality Touch DNA From Archived Fingerprints

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2018
22 pages
This study sought to improve research-based knowledge regarding appropriate DNA analysis of touch evidence (mixture of coenocytes and sweat gland secretions) from latent fingerprints, so as to make recommendations on best practices for latent print collections based on substrate (when DNA analysis may be pursued) for processing archived fingerprints in the laboratory, and for what to expect from these types of samples based on time since collection and the collection methods used.

This project produced tape-lifts of treated and untreated latent fingerprints (and reference buccal swabs) from a minimum of 15 volunteers on both a non-porous and porous substrate, using both standard modern-day handling and historical methods. It determined the best methods for upstream laboratory processing for latent fingerprints that have been tape-lifted and backed on paper backing cards, including an evaluation of DNA sampling techniques, swab diluents, and extraction/purification methods. It used best practices established empirically in the aforementioned goals to assess source attribution of major and minor profiles generated from the samples. This project reports providing some evidence that should encourage laboratories and investigators to consider pursuing DNA analysis from archived latent fingerprints, particularly if they are the only potential source of physical or biological evidence. Viable DNA was found to be available in some archived latent fingerprint samples, as well as in the surface area left behind after swabbing, and it can be retrieved for DNA profiling. 51 references

Date Published: May 1, 2018