President's DNA Initiative
Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology
DNA Analyst Training
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Non-human DNA

Home > Other DNA Markers & Technologies > Other Nuclear DNA Markers & Technologies > Non-Human DNA

A majority of the biological evidence collected from crime scenes is material of human origin that may allow for identification of the person or persons involved in the commission of the crime. The availability of powerful and robust DNA typing strategies has made it is possible to ascertain with a high degree of certainty whether the biological evidence collected originated from a particular individual. However, according to Locard's Exchange Principal, there is a bi-directional transfer of material evidence between the crime scene and the individual participants. Some of this material evidence may be of non-human origin and include hairs, fibers, biological fluids, soils and plant material. The collection, identification and analysis of this evidence may associate an individual to the crime scene or a victim with a suspect.  Traditionally such evidence has been examined using light microscopy and conventional serological methods. The development of molecular genetic approaches to species identification and individualization of non-human DNA (i.e. animal, plant, microbial) will increase the probative value of such evidence and is the subject of this section.

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© 2007 NFSTC Science Serving Justice®
NOTE TO USERS: The President’s DNA Initiative DNA Analyst Training program and assessment were completed and published in 2005, in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice. The science and techniques in the program are sound and proven, however, program content has not been updated to include tools and technologies developed and in use after 2005, including many kits and robots. Assessment questions address only content delivered in this program and may not contain the full range of tools in use in your laboratory.