Using mRNA biomarkers to distinguish skin cells from other contact DNA traces for forensic purposes

Robyn Mihandoost


Within the discipline of forensic science, being able to pinpoint the DNA profile of a possible suspect is extremely vital to solving the crime.  If the understanding of the cellular origin of the DNA evidence is known, eliminating suspects becomes more straightforward.  Specifically DNA evidence of epithelial origin could mean all the difference in categorizing suspects.  In the past there have not been methods for determining epithelial cells from other biological evidence.  Recent studies have been conducted to find mRNA biomarkers that when utilized in conjunction with reference biomarkers can give insight into the cellular origin of biological evidence discovered at a crime scene.  mRNA biomarkers CDSN, LOR, KRT9 and LCE1C seem to be the key to doing precisely this.  A multiplex assay that utilizes CDSN and LOR along with other RNA biomarkers for determining cellular origins has been developed.  If these findings can be refined for common utilization within the forensic science discipline, this can greatly reduce the number of suspects during any given criminal case as well as give insight into what took place during the criminal act.  The next step would be refinement and elucidating these findings to criminal justice professionals.

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