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Single-cell sorting and DNA profiling for complex forensic casework

Crime scene and rape kit samples often contain cells from multiple donors leading to complex DNA mixtures. Various methods have been developed in all stages of the process including differential extraction to separate epithelial from sperm cells and the deconvolution of the mixtures using probabilistic genotyping. Despite all efforts, partial profiles and complex mixtures still all too often compromise the resolution of cases leaving victims out in the cold. Recent technological advancements such as micromanipulation and strategies such as the binomial/multinomial sampling approach have shown promise towards solving the obstacle of DNA mixture interpretation. The proposed study has 3 main aims: (i) improve success rates of existing single cell methods for forensic applications through nucleated cell selection of sperm and skin cells (ii) carry out a feasibility study for the practical application in routine workflows and (iii) perform a proof of concept study through the analysis of mock casework samples, followed by miniaturization via lab-on-chip.

Date:1 Sep 2021 →  Today
Keywords:Forensic casework, Single-cell sequencing, Low volume PCR
Disciplines:Forensic biology, Clinical forensic medicine, Single-cell data analysis
Project type:PhD project