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    DNA Collection Techniques

    DNA profiling has revolutionised the crime scene of investigation. Now forensic professionals can extract information from even the tiniest of samples of epithelial cells, blood, semen, saliva, urine, bone, and other tissue. But DNA testing for forensic analysis is only as effective as the sample collection methods. Improper sample collection, transport, and testing can lead to contaminated evidence and potentially invalidated results.

    To ensure your forensic profiling methods pass the requirement, we recommend you follow the steps outlined in each of these three key stages of effective DNA collection and sampling:
    1. Preparation
    2. Collection DNA cells
    3. Transport and preservation
    We cover best practices for each step in detail below, beginning with the preferred precautions and methods for DNA gathering.

    1) Preparation

    The first step to effective DNA collection is careful preparation. You must ensure that your crime scene techs are equipped with the right equipment to do their job well. To start, you should ensure all techs have the following:
    • Well trained personnel 
    • Protective equipment
    • Right toolkit
    Contamination of samples can become a huge issue in court—potentially compromising months or even years of detective work with a single stray hair or bead of sweat. That’s why well-fitting Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, masks, overalls, shoe covers, and hair covers should be employed at all times during DNA swab collection.

    Evidence Collection Kits

    You should also have a few crime scene collection kits equipped with the necessary tools of your trade. Your kit should include everything from sterile swabs and distilled water or transport media to bindle paper, forceps, a camera, evidence tape, graph paper, and flashlights.
    A full list of crime scene essentials, including a breakdown of the various types of evidence collection kits and their contents, is available here.

    Two Methods of DNA Collection.

    1. Legitimate DNA Collections: Involves the medical scientists who legally collecting genetic samples or  crime investigators issued with a court warrant to obtain DNA from a person example suspect’s blood, semen, urine, hairs, saliva or any material being investigated and required by the law to present scientific evidence in court, that can yield further DNA profile of true perpetrator(s). These samples are obtained from suspects, victims, witness and sometimes from family members. 

    The collectors of genetic materials bind to the international standards and apply those acceptable protocols in a process of carrying out DNA extraction. There are many reasons for a certain person may want to collect a sample from someone like the loved ones. There are many user-friendly DNA kits for the purpose of paternity tests and genealogy tests, or genetic screening for diseases, even law enforcement agencies also encourage parents to collect DNA samples from their children for identification purposes in case if a child abducted. 
    The M-vac is a vacuum system originally developed for the use in the food industry to sample food  for possible pathogens contamination.  However, the developers of the M-vacuum system realized that with some minor tweaking this system could also be a huge benefit in forensics especially for DNA evidence collection.
    In hospital doctors and midwives take DNA from new born babies in order to trace a baby to a rightful mother if baby swapping case and child theft occurred in maternal awards. Frankly speaking many of these ways of collect DNA samples from people are fairly non-invasive and painless. However, few secret DNA testing are also legitimate depending on the gravity of necessitate to collect genetic sample from unwitnessed person or unwilling individual. 

    The goodness of DNA is that it can be store and kept for many centuries if handled properly it can last for millennium as according to recent statistics and studies.

    2. Surreptitious DNA Collections : This is an illgotten DNA gathering technique, involves trickery practices beyond court warrant and oftentimes are very surreptitious dirty activities. The forensic agents employed some unseemly tactics like secretly consulting barbershops and hair salons where such person frequenting to cut his hair or used to do her hairstyle in order to extract biological trace of targeted individual, whom the authority presumed that he/she no needs to have acknowledgement or to be informed about such activities. 

    Forensic DNA examiner fore instance in the FBI DNA Analysis Unit, where professional methods deployed and techniques introduced on daily basis on how to generate suspect’s DNA even in the situation where there is a less hope to obtain genetic information from a targeted criminal.

    Normally the DNA trace are obtained ubiquitously from object like bottle of water that used by target or from eating-drinking utensils left behind in the places like restaurants and bars. Since DNA is very,very easy to acquire from any body anytime. It is also very, very difficult to restraining it or avoid it from being taken by unwanted second parties without your consent or acknowledgment. 

    Studies and researches have estimated that we constantly slough off hair about 40-100 million strands each day, we leave our skin cells all over places we go which peeling off from our bodies about 30,000-40,000 per minute. Even in our households is full of these dust made up primarily of human skin debris and exo-foliated cells shedding off every second and then, where our DNA can also be extracted illegally without our consent. 

    There are sources where DNA theft can be done in less intrusive manners :For an example through exchanging items and handling materials like e.g water bottles, coffee cups, eating utensils, cigarette butts, papers,pen and anything you touch in office and etc. This means no matter how hard we strive to keep our genetic code private, we’re always vulnerable to other unscrupulous parties’ who running secret tests on those DNA samples we shedding off in public places [ more ]It is very cheaper for anyone who harbors intention and owned advanced technology to do actually DNA testing and profiling another person without permission thereof, the more we tempting dare to protect it the more we sensitizing it to the people who willing to do so. 

    In a near future security forensic firms will have full access to portable DNA readers, scanners that scan instantly and read humans’ biological codes, we may find ourselves in a situation in which almost anyone read anyone else’s genetic profile including information about ethnic ancestry, mutations, health status, disease proclivities and so forth. 

    Illegitimate acts may imparted by DNA collection: Some of acts could may lead into DNA theft and blackmail. 
    • Potential employers would stage people’s DNA profiles on job candidate selection basis. 
    • Health insurances and brokers would may stealing clients’ genetic information against their will and frame clients with certain conditions to obey thievery clauses. 
    • It might stimulate a new brand of unscrupulous activities conducting mass DNA collection for profiling with agenda of political extortion and so forth.
    Some advanced surreptitious collection methods that employed by forensic agents to securing DNA from person may mean as little as forging handshake or a brushing-pass-bye against another‘s person body so that his or her hair, skin cells or something contain his DNA may fall off and later retrieved by the an entity. Many illegitimate techniques of gathering abandoned human DNA trace that lying freely in public area are being modernized as science and technology of molecular biology is also improving.

    Why then police collect DNA in secrecy?

    Covert DNA collection sometime it required in a dire situation where it needed to save/protect the life of another person or persevere the societal moral dignity:  Example in Paternity test; where the parent (men) of infidelity or maternal relationship whose being alleged as a father to the new baby or pregnancy but refuses to cooperate in DNA testing, or in simply police officials don't want to tell a person for certain security reasons while the case is under investigation especially during special operations like e.g DNA-dragnet. 

    Investigator examines DNA trace on bottles; this is another indirect methods for collecting DNA that left behind in public areas / NDNAD
    Covert DNA testing can help in many scenarios where actually the investigating team don’t need to alarming the target.  DNA in Open Sources:There are many sources of obtaining DNA, where state will employ minimally intrusive techniques to harvesting those abandoned skin cells in public places instead the police keep on chasing after a person who might not willing to comply by giving his or her genetic material.  

    This situation somehow raise legal questions whether obtaining those abandoned DNA samples from public places which belong to a certain person without his or her acknowledge is indeed legal or impermissible under the judicial law of search warrant and seizure warrant. 

    The police performing such activities is sound as if it is legitimate given a general conviction that there was no intrusion for privacy or inflicting harm on any person, because the authority can defend its power of state forfeit law that own everything in public domains like abandoned material of national significance or just DNA trace for profiling that left unattended in public areas, where the state apply perhaps least intrusive to collect its target’s  genetic information, with no penetration of the skin, inflicting pain, or impacting substantial inconvenience. 

    Genetic material collected from public area is unlike other collection means which accomplished formally, with efforts deems confrontational such as swabbing gauge inside someone’s mouth to collection DNA trace, like the case in the picture above where a health worker inserting a gadget into a child’s mouth to retrieve her DNA sample. Thus, the fact that human urine is also contains DNA can be readily available to the secret harvesters who could timed a person’s movement and-prime a site where he/she goes like example to the toilet pot with certain gadget waiting him or her to use it so that the agent may collect that specific DNA from that particular person’s waste. 

    Undercover agents in modern forensic department trained on how to use ruse of mail and envelop that normally sent a suspect a letter that enshrined a reply content within it, purportedly from a certain relative inquiring about him or her, and when such target (suspect) licks-touch to seal it and reply an envelope, then the agent snatched that opportunity to extract target’s DNA from it. 

    However this is very old fashioned practices nowadays. The security agents from the police have developed modern trade craft that enable them scavenge the left over genetic residues and mining the living domain like a house of targeted individuals with much advanced gadgets and other tactics of harvesting the tosses-half-smoked cigarette from trash pile at suspect’s office, home and etc. 

    Presumably, if an undercover agent know the suspect that she/her is a regular smoker, then forensic agent can rummage in a trash containers or just ask cigarette while he is already in a seating room after gained admission into the house under false pretext.

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