Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Mechthild Prinz

Second Reader

Nicholas Petraco

Third Advisor

Grace Axler-DiPerte


This study attempted to correlate individual biological characteristics to the amount of DNA recovered from a person’s hands (representative of shedding propensity). We used adhesive D-Squame tape to collect DNA from the fingers of more than 100 volunteers with and without controlled activity after handwashing. Two no-activity samples were taken after 30 min from the non-dominant hand and two samples from the dominant hand were collected after 60 min of controlled activity. Involuntary touches during the 60-min activity period were counted. All samples were extracted for DNA, quantitated, and genotyped to detect mixtures. Skin measurements for hydration, sebum, and melanin content were measured and a questionnaire with questions pertaining to various biological factors was given to the volunteers. Based on our data, it is not possible to determine shedding propensity based solely on the physical and biological characteristics of an individual. Skin self-touches were the only parameter that showed a moderate correlation to shedding propensity.


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