Volume 48, Issue 3 (May 2003)
Fingerprints as Evidence for a Genetic Profile: Morphological Study on Fingerprints and Analysis of Exogenous and Individual Factors Affecting DNA Typing
Material recovered from 374 fingerprints left by eleven laboratory workers on three different substrates (glass, wood, metal) at a standard pressure time of 30 s, with and without preliminary handwashing, was submitted to morphological, quantitative, and type analysis. Morphological and agarose-gel electrophoresis analysis showed that a non-negligible amount of epidermal corneal cells presented apoptotic alterations. The quantity of DNA recovered from fingerprints ranged between 0.04 to 0.2 ng, and in a significant number of experiments no DNA was detected. Handwashing reduced the amount of DNA recovered from fingerprints. The "shedder status" of the donor was a very important factor, causing inter-individual variations in the amount of DNA left by fingerprints. Spurious alleles from laboratory-based and secondary transfer contamination, stutters, and other artifacts described when analyzing low-copy-number DNA and capable of affecting correct profiles were observed.