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Laboratory Orientation and Testing of Body Fluids and Tissues for Forensic Analysts


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Saliva is the fluid that moistens the mouth.  It is secreted from three sets of glands – the sublingual, submandibular, and parotid.  The saliva from the parotid glands contains amylases, which aid in the digestion of carbohydrates.

Saliva can be the source of evidence in sexual offenses where oral contact is alleged, bite marks, or on cigarette butts discarded at a scene.

Screening for saliva is based on detection of high levels of amylase in the sample. It is not a confirmatory test as amylase is found in other body fluids.05

Saliva contains ABH substances, especially in secretors.  Saliva samples (spit or buccal swabs) are often taken as reference materials for determination of secretor status.  Stains can be typed using absorption-elution or absorption-inhibition. 

Saliva is also a rich source of DNA, and buccal swabs are routinely collected for reference DNA typing.


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