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Effect of Dactyloscopic Powders on DNA Profiling From Enhanced Fingerprints: Results From an Experimental Study

Tozzo, Pamela MD; Giuliodori, Alice; Rodriguez, Daniele; Caenazzo, Luciana

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 1 - p 68–72
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000081
Original Articles

We conducted a study on the effect of fingerprint enhancement methods on subsequent short tandem repeat profiling. First, we performed a study typing blood traces deposited on 5 different surfaces, treated with 8 types of dactyloscopic powders. Three different DNA extraction methods were used. Subsequently, we analyzed latent fingerprints on the same 5 surfaces enhanced with the 8 different powders used in the first part of the study.

This study has demonstrated that DNA profiling can be performed on fingerprints left on different substrates, and the substrate will affect the amount of DNA that can be recovered for DNA typing. In the first phase of the study, a profile was obtained in 92% of the 120 samples analyzed; in the second part, in 55% of the 80 samples analyzed, we obtained a profile complete in 32.5% of the cases. From the results obtained, it seems that the powders used in latent fingerprints enhancement, rather than having a direct inhibitory effect on extraction and amplification of DNA, may cause partial degradation of DNA, reducing the efficiency of amplification reaction. It should not be forgotten that these results were obtained under laboratory conditions, and in real caseworks, there may still be different problems involved.

From the University of Padua, Padova, Italy.

Manuscript received May 27, 2013; accepted December 1, 2013.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Pamela Tozzo, MD, University of Padova, Department of Molecular Medicine, Via Falloppio 50, 35121, Padova, Italy. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.