Effect of Drain Cleaner on the Molecular Integrity of Sus Scrofa DNA

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Warren, Kimberly
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
Violent crimes are largely prevalent in cities across the United States. In current popular television shows, display characters involved with violent crimes and disposing of victims’ bodies using harsh chemicals, including drain cleaners. Without an intact body at a crime scene, how does a criminalistics team process decomposed evidence? This study used pig rib as a surrogate for human flesh to analyze the effects of drain cleaner on the process of forensically analyzing DNA. The rib tips were exposed to acid, base, and enzymatic based drain cleaners for two weeks, with DNA samples extracted and isolated daily. Nanodrop was used to analyze the concentration of DNA for each sample. Samples were analyzed using PCR and gel electrophoresis. The results displayed inconsistent DNA degradation across all treatment replicates. Base and enzymatic drain cleaner appeared to be less effective than the acid or water at degrading the DNA.
DNA, drain cleaner, DNA degradation