MLSBioDNA has been providing forensic services to the Maltese courts for a number of years. It has one of the most advanced analytical facilities in Malta which adheres to strict ISO 17025 standards. It is able to provide a range of independent and innovative DNA and toxicological testing solutions to police forces, legal and criminal justice organisations, private individuals and anyone interested in such a service.

Internationally trained forensic scientists are able to adapt and respond to the individual needs and requirements, providing an accurate, reliable and integral service. Also our ongoing investment into new facilities, technologies and training enables us to deliver the best service to our client with rapid turnarounds, without the sacrificing of accuracy.

We have 2 Ph.Ds on staff, both with international recognition and several years of experience in mitochondrial and autosomal DNA, forensic casework and methodologies; and support
from local and international crime scene investigators. This allows every scientist to have his
or her own case allowing the same scientist to examine the evidence while being available
to explain and answer any questions you may have concerning the case or science behind
the methodologies.

Detection of body fluids and toxicology services

Two of the most routine services provided by MLSBioDNA is the detection of body fluids such as sperm, vaginal secretion, blood, saliva and hair. This would then require the continuation of other DNA processes such as profiling or DNA sequencing, in order to be able to deduce the DNA profile of the person applying the bodily fluid and comparison with potential suspects using local DNA frequencies.

MLSBioDNA scientists have in fact studied the DNA frequencies using 14 STRs and
Y-chromosome STRs of local population, further increasing the possibility of accurate comparisions (Cassar et al., 2008).

Recent investment have also included state of the art equipment further improving
our methodologies, allowing us to detect alcohol levels in blood and drugs of abuse.
The equipment uses the latest technology allowing for the detection of trace amounts with
the highest level of accuracy. More details can be found in the toxicology section under
chemical analysis.

Direct Biological samples commonly used in forensic analysis

Hair: Any hair submitted to the lab must have roots or the follicle attached. Hair cuttings will
not produce enough DNA and may also inhibit the PCR, due to the large amount of protein found within the cells. Also handle each hair aseptically as possible in order to avoid any contamination of the sample. It is best to utilise a previously alcohol wiped tweezer and
placing the hair into a paper envelope. The more hairs available the higher the chance of obtaining a DNA profile, so try to collect as much hairs as possible. A minimum of 10 hairs is normally recommended.

Blood: blood samples can range from whole blood, blood spots on any material, dried blood etc. Fresh blood in a EDTA tube (to prevent clotting) is the best form of sample and will provide a good amount of DNA. The other types, which are normally more common in a crime scene, depend on the condition of the sample especially more so if chemical agents were used prior
to sampling.

Nails: Feshly trimmed nails work best and have the highest chance of success. These are normaly recommended in the case where the person has recently died or in an assualt case.
It is however inperative that the nails are handed with the greatest attention as they can be easily containatied.

Sperm: In the case of dried sperm, the material should be sent directly to the lab in a paper envelope. In the case of liquid semen, the sample can be absorbed by using a clean cotton swab. In both cases avoid storage in humid or plastic bags as this can easily mould and
destroy DNA.

Bone: Bone and teethe samples are one of the most difficult samples to process as a high amount of DNA degradation and PCR inhibitors would be present. The success rate is solely dependent on the condition of the bone. For bone samples, submitting femur or humerus bone is normally recommended however sampling is best to be carried out by a qualified person.

Samples containing DNA used in forensic analysis

Cigarette Butt: Cigarette butts are usually excellent sources of DNA, especially more so if the cigarette was entirely smoked. If the cigarette has ben shared, a mixed profile will be obtained, requiring more specialised analysis to separate the profiles. The butt should be sent in a normal paper envelope.

Toothbrush: A toothbrush can be a very good source of DNA, considering that it has been used more then a couple of times. It is important that the brush is air-dried prior to sample submission in order to avoid fouling of the sample. Keep the brush in a paper envelope to allow for air circulation.

Envelope and stamp: Licked envelopes and stamps can provide DNA, provided that no inhibition occurs during PCR. Also it is a common practice nowadays that self-adhesive envelopes are used. These will not provide DNA samples and would be classified as having a low rate of extraction success.

Chewing gum: Chewing gum is a very good source of DNA provided that it has not been exposed to contaminates. Precautions should be taken during sampling as this can easily be contaminated. Use aseptic conditions and store the chewing gum in a paper envelope prior
to submission.