Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Review of Closed Canine Forensics DNA Case Reports from the University of California, Davis
by Scharnhorst, Gunther Konrad, M.S., University of California, Davis, 2010, 36; 1489390
Abstract (Summary)

Canine biological materials including hair, dander, and saliva can be found when contact between dogs and humans takes place. As such, analysis of canine DNA portends critical links between suspects and victims in forensic investigations. Although canine biomaterial can be equally as probative as human biological evidence, canine forensic DNA methodologies and resources are not as highly developed or standardized as those methods used in human forensics. Therefore, canine DNA evidence is typically used to provide investigative leads rather than as incriminating evidence. While a standardized panel of short tandem repeat (STR) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) markers and publicly accessible genetic databases for canine forensic DNA analysis are already available, the persistent lack of supporting resources including accredited and generally accepted quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) programs (such as quality manuals, quality control, management, training and testing, and standard operating protocols [SOPs]) still plagues the animal forensic community. Furthermore, for government forensic laboratories, expertise and interest in using animal DNA, including analysis of canine biological evidence, has not yet become established. When little or no other traditional physical evidence is present, only then do investigators tend to resort to animal DNA testing if animal biomaterial is recovered.

This research report examines and assesses the scientific and technical aspects of animal forensic testing at the University of California, Davis. It must be emphasized that this report focuses on closed canine cases from 2003-2005, but extends the scope of its review more widely to include other animal DNA forensic testing services. The findings and recommendations contained in this report are designed to objectively assess the past, evaluate the present, and recommend reforms that will assist the animal forensic science community in providing the best possible services that comply with court standards and bear judicial scrutiny.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kanthaswamy, Sreetharan
Commitee: Smith, David G., Von Beroldingen, Cecilia
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Forensic Science
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 49/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Forensic anthropology, Genetics, Criminology, Bioinformatics, Veterinary services
Keywords: Canine, Criminal investigation, DNA, Databank, Forensic science
Publication Number: 1489390
ISBN: 9781124509358
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