Successful direct amplification of nuclear markers from a single hair follicle

Renée Ottens, Duncan Taylor, Damien Abarno, Adrian Linacre

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    We report on successful amplification of DNA profiles from a single hair. Direct amplification was used on the root tip of both anagen and telogen hairs using a kit to amplify 15 STR loci. All 30 anagen hairs tested from five different people gave full DNA profiles after 29 cycles with no allelic drop-in or heterozygous imbalance. Six of the 30 telogen hairs tested resulted in a full DNA profile, and a further four telogen hair samples tested produced a DNA profile of five or more complete loci that could be up-loaded to the National DNA Database (Australia). A full DNA profile was also obtained from the shaft of an anagen hair. Current practice for many laboratories is that a single hair may not be subjected to DNA testing as there is little chance of success, hence this 100 % success rate from anagen hairs is a significant advancement. A full DNA profile was obtained from a 5 year-old single hair illustrating the success when using direct PCR rather than attempting an extraction prior to the amplification step. The process described deliberately uses current DNA profiling methods with no increase in cycle number, such that the methodology can be incorporated readily into operational practice. For the first time in the field of human identification, single hairs can be analyzed with confidence that a meaningful DNA profile will be generated and the data accepted by the criminal justice system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)238-243
    Number of pages6
    JournalForensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


    • DNA
    • Hair
    • Identification
    • PCR
    • Profile


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