January 26, 2013

Beware of who you kiss

Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2013 Jan;7(1):124-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2012.07.007. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

Prevalence and persistence of male DNA identified in mixed saliva samples after intense kissing.

Kamodyová N, Durdiaková J, Celec P, Sedláčková T, Repiská G, Sviežená B, Minárik G.


Identification of foreign biological material by genetic profiling is widely used in forensic DNA testing in different cases of sexual violence, sexual abuse or sexual harassment. In all these kinds of sexual assaults, the perpetrator could constrain the victim to kissing. The value of the victim's saliva taken after such an assault has not been investigated in the past with currently widely used molecular methods of extremely high sensitivity (e.g. qPCR) and specificity (e.g. multiplex Y-STR PCR). In our study, 12 voluntary pairs were tested at various intervals after intense kissing and saliva samples were taken from the women to assess the presence of male DNA. Sensitivity-focused assays based on the SRY (single-copy gene) and DYS (multi-copy gene) sequence motifs confirmed the presence of male DNA in female saliva after 10 and even 60min after kissing, respectively. For specificity, standard multiplex Y-STR PCR profiling was performed and male DNA was found in female saliva samples, as the entire Y-STR profile, even after 30min in one sample. Our study confirms that foreign DNA tends to persist for a restricted period of time in the victim's mouth, can be isolated from saliva after prompt collection and can be used as a valuable source of evidence.