Visualising latent DNA on tapes

Piyamas Kanokwongnuwut, K. Paul Kirkbride, Adrian Linacre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports a simple method for visualising and screening latent DNA on tapes using a Diamond™ dye (DD) staining process followed by visualisation using a portable fluorescence microscope. Ten types of tapes were tested, which include those used currently by forensic laboratories for tape-lifting. All ten types were tested for: 1) their auto-fluorescence, 2) properties when stained with DD using three different DD solutions, and 3) PCR inhibition through a direct STR amplification technique. No background fluorescence was noted viewing four types stained with 20 x DD diluted with 0.01% Triton-X. Clear tape (Sellotape®), DNA-free tape (Lovell Surgical Solutions) and brown packing tape (Packmate™) did not inhibit direct STR amplification, while the other six types showed the inhibition of the PCR. The three tapes were selected to assess their cellular material recovery efficiency by comparing the number of stained cells within an entire fingermark before and after tape-lifting. Tape-lifting was performed either once, twice or ten times. The DNA-free tape (Lovell) used in many forensic laboratories gave poor recovery compared to the clear tape (Sellotape®) and brown packing tape (Packmate™). This simple visualising technique allows the cell location to be recorded, and only the area of tape where cells are present to be removed for DNA typing. The process is a simple and effective triage procedure that reduces the processing of tape-lift samples where there are no cells present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-239
Number of pages3
JournalForensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Diamond dye
  • DNA recovery
  • Tape-lifting
  • Touch DNA


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