CASE REVIEWFloaters in Surgical Pathology Tissues Genetic Identity Testing Potential and PitfallsBerg, Karin D. MD, MS*†; Murphy, Kathleen M. PhD* Author Information Departments of *Pathology and †Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Karin D. Berg, MD, MS, Carnegie 367, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287. E-mail: [email protected] Pathology Case Reviews 8(3):p 103-110, May 2003. | DOI: 10.1097/01.PCR.0000065694.46545.34 Buy Metrics Abstract Human genetic identity testing is a highly useful means to discriminate between individuals in forensic, paternity, and medical testing. The application of the polymerase chain reaction to genetic identity testing has facilitated the spread of this type of analysis into the realms of quality control and quality assurance of human tissues being assessed for pathologic processes. Polymerase chain reaction-based identity testing now provides a tool to address the vexing issues of specimen mislabeling, misidentification, and tissue contamination. Here we discuss the use of genetic identity testing as applied to human tissue analysis, specifically in the analysis of formalin-fixed/paraffin-embedded tissues for quality control and quality assurance purposes. We briefly discuss the history of identity testing in anatomic pathology applications and follow the maturation of the technologies used in identity testing to the current state of the art. We examine the current status of clinical laboratory medicine identity testing as it applies to surgical pathology, including reviewing the techniques and approaches used, and provide a discussion of clinically relevant pitfalls related to identity testing of anatomic pathology samples using case examples. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.