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RNA/DNA co-analysis from human menstrual blood and vaginal secretion stains: Results of a fourth and fifth collaborative EDNAP exercise


The European DNA Profiling Group (EDNAP) organized a fourth and fifth collaborative exercise on RNA/DNA co-analysis for body fluid identification and STR profiling. The task was to identify dried menstrual blood and vaginal secretion stains using specific RNA biomarkers, and additionally test 3 housekeeping genes for their suitability as reference genes. Six menstrual blood and six vaginal secretion stains, two dilution series (1/4–1/64 pieces of a menstrual blood/vaginal swab) and, optionally, bona fide or mock casework samples of human or non-human origin were analyzed by 24 participating laboratories, using RNA extraction or RNA/DNA co-extraction methods. Two novel menstrual blood mRNA multiplexes were used: MMP triplex (MMP7, MMP10, MMP11) and MB triplex (MSX1, LEFTY2, SFRP4) in conjunction with a housekeeping gene triplex (B2M, UBC, UCE). Two novel mRNA multiplexes and a HBD1 singleplex were used for the identification of vaginal secretion: Vag triplex (MYOZ1, CYP2B7P1 and MUC4) and a Lactobacillus-specific Lacto triplex (Ljen, Lcris, Lgas). The laboratories used different chemistries and instrumentation and all were able to successfully isolate and detect mRNA in dried stains. The simultaneous extraction of RNA and DNA allowed for positive identification of the tissue/fluid source of origin by mRNA profiling as well as a simultaneous identification of the body fluid donor by STR profiling, also from old and compromised casework samples. The results of this and the previous collaborative RNA exercises support RNA profiling as a reliable body fluid identification method that can easily be combined with current STR typing technology.

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