(ETX Daily Up) – For years, investigators have used dogs’ incredible sense of smell to demonstrate the presence of a suspect at a crime scene. But what about their biggest enemies, cats? Researchers at Australia’s Flinders University recently found that they can also be very useful in criminal cases.
Heidi Monkman, Roland AH van Oorschot and Mariya Goray have noticed that these adorable balls of fur can carry traces of genetic material in their fur from someone who has found themselves in their environment.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers collected human DNA samples from 20 domestic cats from 15 households. They went to the various participants in the study to take the samples on the spot. The goal: to see if their skin cells had ended up on their pets by transfer.
The researchers also asked the residents (humans) of each home to fill out a questionnaire about their cat’s behavior and habits to know the frequency of the caresses it receives or who gives them the most.
Traces of DNA were detected in 80% of the samples taken from the felines. Heidi Monkman and her colleagues found no significant difference between the amount of DNA on the fur of the cats that participated in the study and the time that had passed since their last contact with a human. Not even the length of their hair.
In addition, 70% of the DNA profiles generated by the researchers from the samples taken from the felines were reliable enough to be linked to individuals.
These results are all the more promising as this is the first study to examine how domestic animals can contribute to DNA transmission. “The collection of human DNA should become very important in crime investigations, but there is a lack of data on the relationship linking companion animals such as cats and dogs with DNA transfer. human,” Heidi Monkman said in a statement sent to Phys. .org.
However, the coroner says these four-legged companions can be very useful in determining the whereabouts of the residents of a household, or even those of recent visitors.