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J Forensic Sci. 1997 Mar;42(2):320-2.

An improved method to recover saliva from human skin: the double swab technique.

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  • 1UBC Faculty of Dentistry, Vancouver, Canada.


Human bite mark evidence is often found in violent crimes. Due to the difficulties of physically comparing an injury site on elastic and curved skin surfaces to the teeth of a suspect, the authors have considered using salivary DNA evidence to identify the bite perpetrator. Several techniques were evaluated to determine the best method of recovering saliva from human skin before extracting genomic DNA from the collection substrate. A classical stain recovery technique using a wet cotton swab was tested against one utilizing a wet filter paper. Additionally, a new method, referred to as the double swab technique, using a wet cotton swab followed by a dry cotton swab was also evaluated. After recovering a dried saliva stain, DNA was extracted using the modified Chelex method, quantified using the slot-blot procedure, and amplified at three polymorphic loci. The double swab technique showed the highest percentage recovery of saliva from human skin among the three methods studied. This technique is suggested as an improvement over the classical single wet cotton swab technique.

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