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Development and Evaluation of miRNA Panels for Body Fluid Identification Using Capillary Electrophoresis and Massively Parallel Sequencing Methods

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $47,186)

As submitted by the proposer: The ability to determine the body fluid of origin may be relevant to the course of forensic investigations, particularly in sexual assault cases. Although DNA typing can identify the individual that deposited a stain, current methods cannot conclusively determine whether the sample was due to saliva, vaginal material, semen, venous or menstrual blood. This determination may be critical in the reconstruction of events. This project will provide information regarding the utility of micro RNA (miRNA) analysis for body fluid identification (BFID) by evaluating the stability and persistence of miRNAs in forensically relevant samples. In addition, this study will provide crime laboratories with the ability to distinguish venous blood, menstrual blood, semen, vaginal material, and saliva using current capillary electrophoresis (CE)-based methods already employed in crime laboratories, or with a novel STR/BFID panel via massive parallel sequencing (MPS) technologies. The DNA/RNA co-extraction method allows for the co-analysis of DNA and BFID from a single sample, providing more information from each limited sample. This study will be divided into 3 phases and conducted over 36 months; 1) Develop a ten-marker multiplex miRNA system for the identification of venous blood, menstrual blood, semen, vaginal material, and saliva using CE methods, 2) Develop a miRNA panel for combined STR/BFID analysis using MPS technologies, and 3) Evaluating the stability and persistence of both miRNA systems in forensically challenging conditions. Conditions will include a refrigerated environment, outdoors with and without protection from the rain, buried in soil, clothing on a decomposing cadaver, and in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. Expected scholarly products will include a doctoral dissertation, at least two publications in high-impact factor journals, and presentations of data at national scientific meetings. Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. ca/ncf

Date Created: August 1, 2016