Prevention of Contamination

To ensure that there is no accidental transfer of body fluids or fibers between the parties who have been involved in a sexual act, each complainant and each suspect should be transported in separate vehicles and examined in different locations by different forensic practitioners.

Because of the sensitivity of the techniques used to extract and analyze DNA, forensic practitioners should take all possible steps to ensure that their own cellular material does not contaminate the samples they obtain. Therefore, gloves must be worn throughout the forensic examination and changed when sampling different body areas. Some jurisdictions require that all used gloves should be retained and exhibited. In addition, the forensic physician should avoid talking, coughing, or sneezing over unsealed samples and should handle all samples as little as possible. If a doctor believes that there is a possibility that he or she will cough or sneeze over an unsheathed swab, a face mask should be worn when the sample is being obtained.

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