Use of a Spray Device to Locate Touch DNA on Casework Samples

Jennifer M. Young, Adrian Linacre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The use of a fluorescent dye to visualize cellular material on surfaces offers a targeted sampling approach for locating touch DNA on casework items. However, the current application of such dye is not feasible for examination of relatively large items. As a result, development of an efficient dye application system is required to translate this approach into practice. Here, the spray pattern (area covered, intensity, and evenness) of 15 different commercial spray devices was examined visually using food coloring. From this, five devices were selected to apply Diamond Nucleic Acid Dye (DD) to three substrates (glass slide, plastic sheet, and brown packing tape) seeded with saliva and touch DNA. The cellular material was visualized using the Dino-lite Microscope and Polilight. The inhibitory effects of DD afforded by each spray device were examined using Identifiler Plus® DNA profiling kit and a DNA input of 800 pg. The two most promising devices were further tested on a range of mock casework items seeded with touch DNA. The results presented demonstrate the feasibility of a spray system to apply DD to large surfaces and subsequently detect cellular material at both micro and macroscale. Specifically, the data suggest that a pressurized continuous-spray system is favorable and that droplet size influences the intensity of fluorescence and surface coverage. Furthermore, this study indicates that full STR profiles can be obtained following spraying with DD solution, even with excessive application, which is essential for the widespread use of these devices in casework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1280-1288
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • cellular material
  • diamond nucleic acid dye
  • fluorescence microscopy
  • forensic DNA
  • STR profiling
  • touch DNA


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