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Deep Sequencing for Identification and Characterization of MicroRNAs in Forensically Important Biological Fluids

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2016
83 pages

This report presents the findings and methodology of a research project that used high-throughput sequencing (HTS) of eight forensically relevant biological fluids to identify candidate microRNAs (miRNAs) that could be a molecular tool for body fluid identification; developmental validations were subsequently performed for the identified miRNAs.


MiRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that are 18-22 nucleotides in length and have previously been identified as potential markers for the identification of forensically relevant body fluids. This comprehensive evaluation of miRNA expression in forensically relevant biological fluids and the consequent development of candidate miRNAs for further research constitutes an essential first step in progressing toward an eventual commercial assay for body fluid identification that is robust and reliable. The findings regarding the stability of miRNAs upon compromise further improved the desirability of the development of a body fluid identification platform using miRNAs. The compilation of miRNAs in a robust multiplex developed from DNA extracts could revolutionize forensic body-fluid identification. The increased efficiency will reduce or eliminate analysts' time in microscopic analysis and serological assays that yield poor confidence in the body fluid reported. The logical next step for this research is the completion of additional developmental validation of the miRNA panel. Suggestions are offered for this effort.

Date Published: May 1, 2016