CaDNAP: Canine DNA Profiling in forensic casework
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. 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, 2004, 2006, Hellmann 2006, Berger 2014].
To drive international harmonization of analysis and data interpretation we co-founded the Canine DNA Profiling (CaDNAP) group in 2003 in collaboration with the German Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt Wiesbaden, BKA). In 2008 the Institute of Veterinary Pathology, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen (Institut für Veterinärpathologie) joined our group, in 2015 the Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Zurich (Institut für Rechtsmedizin Zürich).
The group has organized meetings to harmonize scientific work and developments in the canine forensic genetic field aswell as proficiency tests including STR and mtDNA analyses.