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DNA on feminine sanitary products

Abstract

The use of feminine hygiene products is commonplace and chaperones many women for most of their reproductive years. Unless specifically labelled, products are usually not sterile. Any DNA present on their surface could potentially be transferred onto the wearer and subsequently be detected in samples taken from intimate areas during a medical examination. This study investigated whether unused feminine sanitary products normally carry detectable amounts of DNA. Altogether, 52 items of tampons, pads, liners, and wipes were tape lifted and subjected to total and male-specific DNA quantification and STR amplification. Nineteen of these returned quantification values greater than zero. However, only four (one tampon and three liners) displayed one or two Y-STRs, whereas one pad exhibited one autosomal allele and an amelogenin X allele. All peak heights were below 515 RFU. Two liners may have collected partner DNA post purchase since they were not individually wrapped. Thus, feminine sanitary products are normally not a source of DNA.

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