One day, investigators can reunite the suspects in the living room and uncover their key evidence: the family cat.
New research from Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia has shown that human DNA can be carried and transferred by animals such as cats and dogs.
This means, in theory, that investigators could use DNA contained in a dog or cat’s fur as evidence that a person was close to the animal.
It is also possible that cats may accidentally transfer human DNA to the crime scene – this is potentially key evidence in criminal investigations, according to the researchers.
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In collaboration with the Victoria Police Department of Forensic Services, forensic science researchers Heidi Monkman and Dr Mariya Goray, of Flinders College of Science and Engineering, collected human DNA from 20 domestic cats from multiple families.
Detectable levels of DNA were found in 80% of the samples.
Interpretable profiles were generated in 70% of the cats tested that could be linked to a person of interest.
“Collecting human DNA must become very important in crime scene investigations, but there is a lack of data on companion animals such as cats and dogs in their relationship to human DNA transfer,” says Monkman.
“These pets can be very relevant for assessing the presence and activities of the family’s inhabitants or any recent visitors to the scene.”
An experienced crime scene investigator, Dr. Goray, who is an expert in DNA transfer, says this data can be very relevant when interpreting forensic DNA results obtained from a crime scene that includes pets.
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“This kind of data can help us understand the meaning of the DNA results obtained, especially if there is a match with a person of interest.
“Are these DNA artifacts the result of a criminal activity or could they have been transferred and deposited at the scene via a pet?”
Researchers say: ‘More research is needed on the transfer, persistence and prevalence of human DNA to and from cats and other companion animals and the influences on the behavioral habits of the animals, the deletion status of owners’ DNA and many other factors. relevant
At this point, further collaborative work on cats and dogs is currently underway at the Flinders University Forensic Laboratory.
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