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Standard 28-cycle amplification of X/Y-FISH labelled epithelial cells for DNA profiling

Abstract

The examination of sexual assault evidence frequently involves the analysis of samples that comprise mixtures of male and female cells. Separating male and female cells benefits analysis as the results are more likely to be simplified into profiles from single contributors. Some separation methods have focussed on separation of sperm from epithelial cells, but samples without sperm also require separation (vasectomised males, licked skin, etc.). X/Y chromosome FISH labelling when combined with laser micro-dissection (LMD) is a reliable method to separate male and female epithelial cells, but has mostly been combined with increased cycle PCR to create DNA profiles, limiting its use in many forensic laboratories. This study aimed to determine the limits of cell numbers collected by LMD for standard 28-cycle DNA profiling, and to test the effects, if any, on stochastic variation normally caused by sampling effects. Male and female epithelial cells were stained using the Vysis CEP X/Y DNA Probe kits, and collected using a Leica LMD6000. DNA was extracted and amplified by the ESR in-house one-tube method, using standard 28-cycle PCR with the AmpFISTR Identifiler™ (Applied Biosystems) multiplex kit. Full IdentifilerTM DNA profiles were produced using standard 28-cycle PCR, and partial profiles suitable for submission were produced from even relatively low numbers of cells collected. Profiling results were compared with low-copy number PCR on low numbers of cells stained and collected in the same manner, and the observed effects on heterozygote balance are discussed.

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