Exploring tapelifts as a method for dual workflow STR amplification

Belinda Martin, Duncan Taylor, Adrian Linacre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although a version of direct PCR is implemented in forensic laboratories for reference material, its incorporation into workflow for the analysis of touch DNA, as a form of latent DNA, from casework exhibits is not. In addition to concerns about increased sensitivity causing more complex mixtures or the generation of more genetic data implicating an individual superfluous to the context of the alleged event, the complete use of the collected sample in the PCR as template has meant that there is no possibility for data reproducibility when needed. Here it is proposed that the use of tapelifts in touch DNA collection can facilitate replicate direct PCR analysis from a single sample allowing the sample to be re-tested. If all portions of the tapelift result in profiles with allelic and likelihood ratio concordance, these sub-samples may be accepted as technical replicates, thus meeting any accreditation guideline requirements. Furthermore, we assess the use of a single tapelift for both direct PCR and extraction-based PCR workflows to illustrate the potential for benefits of both systems to be facilitated. DNA was deposited by three donors onto six substrates with five sample replicates of each condition. Separation of each tapelift into three portions for three direct PCRs ensued using VeriFiler™ Plus. Separation of single tapelifts into three direct PCRs showed no statistical difference in donor allele calls or RFU, or subsequent LRs associated with their profiles. Comparison of profiles within the single tapelift showed more similarity, with high mixture-to-mixture match likelihoods, than when these sub-samples were compared with profiles generated from other samples. This allows each sub-sample taken from the tapelift to be considered as technical replicates. For dual workflow facilitation assessment, one donor deposited DNA through touch onto six substrates with five research replicates of each. Separation of single tapelifts into two portions, one for direct PCR and the retention and use of the remaining portion for extraction and subsequent PCR, showed no significant difference in allelic yield and subsequent donor comparison LRs. Comparison of deconvoluted profiles produced from a single tapelift showed high mixture-to-mixture match likelihoods, supporting DNA donor concordance. This indicates that removing a portion of a tapelift for direct PCR amplification, while processing the remainder through standard processes, allows increased sensitivity through direct PCR while offering the preparation of an eluate suitable for repeated analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102653
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International: Genetics
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Direct PCR
  • Forensic science
  • STR DNA profiling
  • Technical replicate
  • Touch DNA


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