If you think about DNA analysis for CSI (crime scene investigation) the involved humans (victim, suspect) certainly come first place. Their DNA profiles can be used to potentially prove their presence at the crime scene and their relation to the crime. Also, non-human DNA may be of equally important evidentiary value and the chance of finding relevant animal DNA is quite high given the strong social interaction of humans with pets.
A successful screening method to distinguish human from non-human DNA was established earlier by analysis of the cytochrom b (cytb) gene [Parson 2000] and in some cases the determination of the biological species suffices to give the relevant answers. Sometimes however, the discrimination of individuals within a species becomes important, such as is the case with popular animals. In that sense the dog can be considered the most interesting animal species from a forensic view point.
The dog is deemed to be our closest animal companion and most popular pet demonstrated by more than 400 dog breeds that are known to share people’s homes. As a consequence of the high abundance and the close integration of dogs into human social life, forensically relevant cases involving dogs, such as accidents or dog attacks, are observed regularly. Even more importantly canine tissues can serve as evidentiary link when they indicate the suspect’s (or victim’s) presence at the crime scene. We have been carrying out research on canine DNA profiling since 2001 by introducing molecular technology to aid the canine identification process [Eichmann 2004, Eichmann 2004, Eichmann 2005, Hellmann 2006, Berger 2014].