Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Mechthild Prinz

Second Reader

Lawrence Kobilinsky

Third Advisor

Grace Axler-DiPerte


The ability to detect “touch” DNA has complicated the interpretation of DNA profiles in the field of forensics because it leads to the introduction of the concept of DNA transfer, persistence and background into casework. This project is geared towards understanding DNA transfer in the NYC subways and has relevance in groping and attempted sexual assault cases, where garments are submitted as evidence. The study involved 10 volunteers who were asked to wear a clean jacket during their trips on the subway for one week and the DNA from these jackets was collected, extracted, quantified, amplified and typed. The results showed that negative real-time PCR quantitation results did not predict STR DNA typing outcomes. DNA typing results showed that 62.3% of the alleles detected on the jackets were foreign, however, the wearer was the major component in majority of the loci tested. Most of the samples were mixtures and none of the samples yielded a major foreign component that would have been eligible for the DNA database. This study provides some insight into the amount of background DNA found on clothing in the subway environment, which is critical to determining the probative value of this type of evidence.

Included in

Genetics Commons



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