Currently, the most common procedures for the forensic identification of semen that may be present due to a sexual assault include the microscopic identification of spermatozoa, acid phosphatase activity, or the detection of PSA. However, not all cases of sexual assault result in the deposit of semen. Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH) has been found to be a very sensitive and specific method for detection of the Y chromosome from male cells. This study was undertaken to demonstrate the presence of epithelial cells of male origin in the postcoital vaginal tract using a commercially available probe. Results identified Y chromosome in intact epithelial cells on postcoital Days 1 through 4, and on Day 7. Additionally, Y chromosome positive epithelial cells were identified in vaginal swabs obtained following intercourse with no ejaculation. The method developed in this study demonstrates that FISH is a sensitive method for the identification of the presence of male epithelial cells in the postcoital vagina.
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