Canine DNA Profiling in Forensic Casework: The Tail Wagging the Dog
Berger,C.; Berger,B.; Parson,W.
The popularity of dogs as faithful human companions instigates forensically relevant issues on a regular basis. Domestic dogs take an active role as causers of accidents and as offenders of attacks; even more frequently dogs act as link between victim and suspect in a crime case due to the fact that dog holders live in an environment rich of canine material. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analyses of canine cells have been applied successfully in individual cases. However, a review of published casework aptly demonstrates great inter-laboratory variability not only in methodological but also in general terms. We screened the literature for application of canine DNA analysis in the forensic context and found 12 publications presented by 10 different laboratories. In almost no case did employed DNA markers widely overlap between these studies. Even worse is the situation with respect to allele nomenclature where a nice bouquet of variants has been reported by the different groups. Despite great technological achievements in the recent past it seems, that in forensic canine DNA analysis the cart was put before the horse. The canine forensic field faces the urgent need for general standardization and harmonization activities such as those that have taken place in the human forensic field in the past years. In particular, the nature and selection of DNA markers to be tested, the implementation of a generally compatible allele nomenclature and the settlement on standardized statistical calculation methods adopted for the specific genetic peculiarities of dog populations need thorough considerations
Forensic Sci Rev 2009 21(1):1-13