Forensic Analysis

The most common reason for forensic analysis of skin swabs is after licking, kissing, or biting of the skin. Forensic analysis for other body fluids or exogenous substances is considered elsewhere in the chapter.

4.1.2.1. Detection of Saliva

The only means of confirming the presence of saliva on the skin is by detecting the enzyme amylase. However, in practice, this enzyme is not usually found in high enough concentrations in samples removed from the skin (Austin, C., personal communication, 2002).

4.1.2.2. Identification of the Assailant

The preferred method for the forensic assessment of a possible saliva sample is the use of DNA STR analysis. Although it may be possible to determine the ABO-secretor status of the sample submitted, the test is only relevant if the saliva originates from one of the 80% of the population who secrete their ABO blood group in their body fluids.

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