Forensic Analysis and Persistence Data

Traditionally, the detection of the enzyme amylase on vulval and vaginal swabs was considered confirmatory evidence of the presence of saliva. However, in 1992, a study conducted at the Metropolitan Police Laboratory, London, using vaginal swabs from volunteer female donors who had not participated in cunnilingus revealed high levels of endogenous amylase (82). Furthermore, amylase has been specifically isolated from cervical mucus (83). Therefore, the FSS in London no longer routinely tests for amylase in such cases. Instead, DNA analysis is undertaken on the vulval and/or vaginal swabs. If the assailant's DNA profile is obtained, it can be used to support an allegation of cunnilingus, although, obviously, the precise interpretation will depend on whether the complainant was subjected to other sexual acts that could account for the presence of the DNA (e.g., ejaculation). There are no published persistence data regarding the maximum time it is possible to obtain the assailant's DNA pattern from the female genitalia after cunnilingus/anilingus.

There are no published data regarding the possibility of obtaining the complainant's DNA STR profile from a swab or saliva sample taken from the assailant's oral cavity or lips after an allegation of cunnilingus or anilingus. Correspondence with numerous forensic biologists has not revealed any cases in which this has been undertaken, and the general consensus among these experts is that it is unlikely that such samples would isolate sufficient material for forensic analysis because of the usual time delay between the sexual act and the obtaining of the samples from the suspect and the limited number of vaginal cells that are likely to be present. Indeed, this presumption appears to be supported by the work of Banaschak et al. (84), who found mixed DNA STR patterns in five samples obtained from five couples who had kissed for 2 minutes. However, in all cases, the kissing partner's DNA STR pattern was only identifiable in the samples immediately after kissing (maximum 60 seconds), and no mixed DNA STR patterns were identified when the volunteers were retested at 5 minutes.

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