Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department/Program

Forensic Science

Language

English

First Advisor

Mechthild Prinz

Second Reader

Richard Li

Third Advisor

Grace Axler-DiPerte

Abstract

The collection of touch DNA from evidence has been a challenge in the field of Forensic Biology for decades. There are numerous collection protocols, substrates, and solutions that have been used to varying levels of success. Currently, no single method or substrate stands out as the single most effective collection protocol. The Gene Link Omni Matrix™ K105 solution is a novel collection method that can be sprayed onto the surface of non-porous evidence. The matrix dries into a film, capturing cells and cell-free DNA which can be scraped off and collected into a tube. During extraction, the matrix dissolves into the extraction buffer, reducing the number of transfer steps in an extraction protocol. In this study, five donors touched various pieces of mock evidence in duplicate. One item was swabbed while the other item of each pair was sampled with the matrix solution. In this small study, the Omni-Matrix™ K105 solution led to a 15-fold increase in median DNA yield, twice as many alleles called using the Globalfiler PCR Amplification Kit, and higher quality profiles than when evidence was swabbed. Further studies focusing on a larger sample size, donor shedder status, and compatibility with latent fingerprint development techniques would be necessary to prove whether the matrix could be a viable alternative to current sampling methods.

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