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Rapid Microchip Electrophoretic Separation of Novel Transcriptomic Body Fluid Markers for Forensic Fluid Profiling.

Abstract

Initial screening of criminal evidence often involves serological testing of stains of unknown composition and/or origin discovered at a crime scene to determine the tissue of origin. This testing is presumptive but critical for contextualizing the scene. Here, we describe a microfluidic approach for body fluid profiling via fluorescent electrophoretic separation of a published mRNA panel that provides unparalleled specificity and sensitivity. This centrifugal microfluidic approach expedites and automates the electrophoresis process by allowing for simple, rotationally driven flow and polymer loading through a 5 cm separation channel; with each disc containing three identical domains, multi-sample analysis is possible with a single disc and multi-sample detection per disc. The centrifugal platform enables a series of sequential unit operations (metering, mixing, aliquoting, heating, storage) to execute automated electrophoretic separation. Results show on-disc fluorescent detection and sizing of amplicons to perform comparably with a commercial ‘gold standard’ benchtop instrument and permitted sensitive, empirical discrimination between five distinct body fluids in less than 10 min. Notably, our microfluidic platform represents a faster, simpler method for separation of a transcriptomic panel to be used for forensically relevant body fluid identification.

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