Try a new search

Format these results:

Searched for:



Total Results:


Micromanipulation of single cells and fingerprints for forensic identification

Ostojic, Lana; O'Connor, Craig; Wurmbach, Elisa
Crime scene samples often include biological stains, handled items, or worn clothes and may contain cells from various donors. Applying routine sample collection methods by using a portion of a biological stain or swabbing the entire suspected touched area of the evidence followed by DNA extraction often leads to DNA mixtures. Some mixtures can be addressed with sophisticated interpretation protocols and probabilistic genotyping software resulting in DNA profiles of their contributors. However, many samples remain unresolved, providing no investigative information. Samples with many contributors are often the most challenging samples in forensic biology. Examples include gang rape situations or where the perpetrator's DNA is present in traces among the overwhelming amounts of the victim's DNA. If this is the only available evidence in a case, it is of paramount importance to generate usable information. An alternative approach, to address biological mixtures, could be the collection of individual cells directly from the evidence and testing them separately. This method could prevent cells from being inadvertently blended during the extraction process, thus resulting in DNA mixtures. In this study, multiple tools coupled with adhesive microcarriers to collect single cells were evaluated. These were tested on epithelial (buccal) and sperm cells, as well as on touched items. Single cells were successfully collected but fingerprints were swabbed in their entirety to account for the extracellular DNA of these samples and the poor DNA quality of shed skin flakes. Furthermore, micromanipulation devices, such as the P.A.L.M.® and the Axio Zoom.V16 operated manually or with a robotic arm aureka®, were compared for their effectiveness in collecting cells. The P.A.L.M.® was suitable for single cell isolation when smeared on membrane slides. Manual or robotic manipulations, by utilizing the Axio Zoom.V16, have wider applications as they can be used to isolate cells from various substrates such as glass or membrane slides, tapes, or directly from the evidence. Manipulations using the Axio Zoom.V16, either with the robotic arm aureka® or manually, generated similar outcomes which were significantly better than the outcomes by using the P.A.L.M.®. Robotic manipulations using the aureka® produced more consistent results, but operating the aureka® required training and often needed re-calibrations. This made the process of cell manipulations slower than when manually operated. Our preferred method was the manual manipulations as it was fast, cost effective, required little training, but relied on a steady hand of the technician.
PMID: 33260060
ISSN: 1878-0326
CID: 4694122

Analysis of fingerprint samples, testing various conditions, for forensic DNA identification

Ostojic, Lana; Wurmbach, Elisa
Fingerprints can be of tremendous value for forensic biology, since they can be collected from a wide variety of evident types, such as handles of weapons, tools collected in criminal cases, and objects with no apparent staining. DNA obtained from fingerprints varies greatly in quality and quantity, which ultimately affects the quality of the resulting STR profiles. Additional difficulties can arise when fingerprint samples show mixed STR profiles due to the handling of multiple persons. After applying a tested protocol for sample collection (swabbing with 5% Triton X-100), DNA extraction (using an enzyme that works at elevated temperatures), and PCR amplification (AmpFlSTR® Identifiler® using 31cycles) extensive analysis was performed to better understand the challenges inherent to fingerprint samples, with the ultimate goal of developing valuable profiles (≥50% complete). The impact of time on deposited fingerprints was investigated, revealing that while the quality of profiles deteriorated, full STR profiles could still be obtained from samples after 40days of storage at room temperature. By comparing the STR profiles from fingerprints of the dominant versus the non-dominant hand, we found a slightly better quality from the non-dominant hand, which was not always significant. Substrates seem to have greater effects on fingerprints. Tests on glass, plastic, paper and metal (US Quarter dollar, made of Cu and Ni), common substrates in offices and homes, showed best results for glass, followed by plastic and paper, while almost no profiles were obtained from a Quarter dollar. Important for forensic casework, we also assessed three-person mixtures of touched fingerprint samples. Unlike routinely used approaches for sampling evidence, the surface of an object (bottle) was sectioned into six equal parts and separate samples were taken from each section. The samples were processed separately for DNA extraction and STR amplification. The results included a few single source profiles and distinguishable two person mixtures. On average, this approach led to two profiles ≥50% complete per touched object. Some STR profiles were obtained more than once thereby increasing the confidence.
PMID: 28063583
ISSN: 1355-0306
CID: 2943602

Qualitative and quantitative assessment of single fingerprints in forensic DNA analysis

Ostojic, Lana; Klempner, Stacey A; Patel, Rosni A; Mitchell, Adele A; Axler-DiPerte, Grace L; Wurmbach, Elisa
Fingerprints and touched items are important sources of DNA for STR profiling, since this evidence can be recovered in a wide variety of criminal offenses. However, there are some fundamental difficulties in working with these samples, including variability in quantity and quality of extracted DNA. In this study, we collected and analyzed over 700 fingerprints. We compared a commercially available extraction protocol (Zygem) to two methods developed in our laboratory, a simple one-tube protocol and a high sensitivity protocol (HighSens) that includes additional steps to concentrate and purify the DNA. The amplification protocols that were tested were AmpFLSTR(R) Identifiler(R) using either 28 or 31 amplification cycles, and Identifiler(R) Plus using 32 amplification cycles. We found that the HighSens and Zygem extraction methods were significantly better in their DNA yields than the one-tube method. Identifiler(R) Plus increased the quality of the STR profiles for the one-tube extraction significantly. However, this effect could not be verified for the other extraction methods. Furthermore, microscopic analysis of single fingerprints revealed that some individuals tended to shed more material than others onto glass slides. However, a dense deposition of skin flakes did not strongly correlate with a high quality STR profile
PMID: 25098234
ISSN: 0173-0835
CID: 1105452