Integrated Microfluidic System for Rapid Forensic DNA Analysis: Sample Collection to DNA Profile

Analytical Chemistry, 2010, 82 (16). 

Andrew J. Hopwood, Cedric Hurth, Jianing Yang, Zhi Cai, Nina Moran, John G. Lee-Edghill, Alan Nordquist, Ralf Lenigk, Matthew D. Estes, John P. Haley, Colin R. McAlister, Xiaojia Chen, Carla Brooks, Stan Smith, Keith Elliott, Pieris Koumi, Frederic Zenhausern and Gillian Tully. Research and Development, Forensic Science Service, Trident Court 2960 Solihull Parkway, Birmingham Business Park, Birmingham UK B37 7YN, and Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine, The University of Arizona College of Medicine, 425 N. Fifth Street, Phoenix, Arizona 8500

We demonstrate a conduit for the delivery of a step change in the DNA analysis process: A fully integrated instrument for the analysis of multiplex short tandem repeat DNA profiles from reference buccal samples is described and is suitable for the processing of such samples within a forensic environment such as a police custody suite or booking office. The instrument is loaded with a DNA processing cartridge which incorporates on-board pumps and valves which direct the delivery of sample and reagents to the various reaction chambers to allow DNA purification, amplification of the DNA by PCR, and collection of the amplified product for delivery to an integral CE chip. The fluorescently labeled product is separated using micro capillary electrophoresis with a resolution of 1.2 base pairs (bp) allowing laser induced fluorescence-based detection of the amplified short tandem repeat fragments and subsequent analysis of data to produce a DNA profile which is compatible with the data format of the UK DNA database. The entire process from taking the sample from a suspect, to database compatible DNA profile production can currently be achieved in less than 4 h. By integrating such an instrument and microfluidic cartridge with the forensic process, we believe it will be possible in the near future to process a DNA sample taken from an individual in police custody and compare the profile with the DNA profiles held on a DNA Database in as little as 3 h.

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