Body fluid identification, RNA, RNA stability
In theory, RNA expression patterns, including the presence and relative abundance of particular RNA species, provide cell and tissue specific information that could be of use to forensic scientists. An mRNA based approach could allow the facile identification of the tissue components present in a body fluid stain and conceivably could supplant the battery of serological and biochemical tests currently employed in the forensic serology laboratory. Some of the potential advantages include greater test specificity, and the ability to perform simultaneous analysis using a common assay format for the presence of all body fluids of forensic interest. In this report, the recovery and stability of RNA in forensic samples was evaluated by conducting an in-depth study on the persistence of RNA in biological stains. Stains were prepared from blood, saliva, semen, and vaginal secretions, and were exposed to a range of environmental conditions so that the affects of different light sources, temperatures, and environments could be assessed. Using the results from quantitation and sensitivity studies performed with pristine forensic stains, the RNA stability of samples which were collected over a period of 1 day to 1 year for blood, saliva, and vaginal secretion stains and for up to 6 months for semen stains were analyzed. The extent of RNA degradation within each type of body fluid stain was determined using quantitation of total RNA and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with selected housekeeping and tissue-specific genes. The results show that RNA can be recovered from biological stains in sufficient quantity and quality for mRNA analysis. The results also show that mRNA is detectable in samples stored at room temperature for at least one year, but that heat and humidity appear to be very detrimental to the stability of RNA.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences
Setzer, Mindy Eileen, "Stability And Recovery Of Rna In Biological Stains" (2004). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 41.