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Sci Justice. 2013 Mar;53(1):28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.scijus.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 May 28.

Sperm elution: an improved two phase recovery method for sexual assault samples.

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  • 1Cellmark Forensic Services, Abingdon, England, UK.


This report describes the validation of a two phase cell recovery technique for the elution of two common cell types, epithelia and spermatozoa, from frequently examined items submitted as part of sexual assault casework. Furthermore, separation of cell types prior to microscopic examination of cell pellets improves the scientist's confidence in observing and scoring spermatozoa that may be present. During the validation, Orchid Cellmark's Sperm Elution© method consistently recovered a greater number of spermatozoa from simulated sexual assault items and swabs taken following consensual sexual intercourse compared to a water extraction technique. On average the Sperm Elution method recovered over twice the number of spermatozoa compared to the water method. The ability to separate the cell types present allows a rapid microscope slide search for spermatozoa and faster DNA extraction protocol in comparison to Cellmark's previous preferential method.

Copyright © 2012 Forensic Science Society. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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