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DNA Collection & Analysis

For those working to identify the perpetrators of a crime, one kind of crime scene evidence is sought after more than any other: forensic DNA. Here are a few products that aid in the collection and analysis of forensic DNA evidence.


The Containment Swab (C-Swab) from Abacus Diagnostics allows users to avoid contamination of evidence and loss of material. The special design centrally positions the high-quality, USP-grade cotton tip inside the protective, recloseable tube. Its semi-flexible handle is approximately 149 mm long, ideal for the collection of sexual-assault evidence. It is easy to transport due to its sturdy polystyrene tube holder, and it is one of the least-expensive options for what it provides. Each swab is individually wrapped, includes the transport device and swab in a single unit, and is sealable by an evidence information label. To learn more about this product, go to:

Sarstedt has extended its range of DNA-free certified Forensic-Swabs to include new stem and length options. The original Forensic-Swab features a 95 mm polystyrene-stemmed viscose swab assembled in a screw-cap transport tube with an integral ventilation membrane for self-drying within the tube. The Forensic-Swab is individually packaged in easy-open paper/plastic peel pouches, sterile, and DNA-free. Versions with a wooden stem are now offered, with and without the corresponding transport tube. Two extra-long versions are also available: Forensic-Swab L and Forensic-Swab XL. The Forensic-Swab L has an extended handle for more hygienic collection of reference samples; the Forensic-Swab XL has an extra-long 125 mm swab that is useful in sexual-assault cases.

BioTX’s TED evidence-collection system is designed to support a variety of evidence-collection requirements, from touch DNA to dried blood, liquids, powders, arson debris, and fibers. TED uses a hand-held vacuum pump with different end attachments specifically designed for the evidence collected. Touch DNA samples are captured from different surfaces using the porous nylon tip attachment. The tip is stored before and after collection in a lab-ready plastic vial with a Data Matrix 2D barcode along with human readable numbers.

PCR Consumables

The new BRAND white PCR consumables from BrandTech Scientific are designed to optimize results for real-time PCR (qPCR). Uniformly colored with titanium dioxide, BRAND white PCR products offer significantly better results in the analysis of fluorescence signals and consequently with the quantification of the replicated DNA. Extra-thin wall dimensions provide optimal thermal transfer and short cycle times. Reflection of the fluorescence signal is optimized by smooth surfaces. Available in strips of 8 with a tab for easy handling, as well as 24-, 48-, 96-, and 384-well plates suitable for use in most thermal cyclers. Manufactured in clean room conditions BRAND PCR products are DNase, DNA- and RNAse-free.


Working to improve the process of extracting and purifying human genomic DNA from whole blood, TruTip from Akonni uses an Eppendorf epMotion automated pipetting station to deliver inhibitor-free, PCR-ready DNA up to five times faster than spin columns. The automation allows you to achieve this with the simple push of a button. Or, you can perform one to eight ultra-rapid manual extractions with TruTip and a Rainin EDP 3Plus single- or multi-channel pipette, in as few as four minutes.

Systems & Services

For all human-identity STR analysis applications, GeneMarker HID Human Identity Software is designed with a user-friendly interface, audit trail, control of access rights, and tools that provide documented time savings (J Forensic Sci 56:29-35 2011). It provides complete STR analysis, and linked applications to assist experts, including: relationship testing/missing-person database searching for matching or near matching profiles and familial search capabilities essential for crime scene investigation, missing persons identification, and mass-disaster response.

Cybergenetics TrueAllele technology is a scientifically validated computer system that provides objective review of DNA evidence. TrueAllele offers STR data analysis and interpretation; casework to resolve complex mixtures with multiple contributors, degraded, or touch DNA; and batch automation for high throughput. TrueAllele interpretation results are typically 1,000,000 times more informative than current mixture interpretation approaches. The TrueAllele technology is available as a within laboratory product or a service. Get much more information at:

Ancestry Testing

Investigative LEAD is a new forensic DNA test that determines the ancestral background of suspect DNA evidence. Sorenson Forensics has developed the proprietary DNA test and has validated it for forensic casework. If a criminal investigation has reached a dead end and CODIS can’t find a suspect, this new test provides the ability to genetically investigate the ancestry of an individual in relation to 5 major reference populations. Sorenson offers free case consults to help determine if evidence meets the testing requirements.


DNAstable from Biomatrica is a long-term preservative for purified DNA extracts at ambient temperature. The reagent offers a long-term stabilization and storage of purified DNA while preserving high sample quality and high recovery after rehydration. The product is available in different storage formats: tubes, wells, and tube-plates as a liquid or dry-matrix. The formats support manual or automated workflows of forensic DNA analysis and protocols. Find much more information here:


The Investigator Quantiplex Kit from QIAGEN is designed to quickly confirm that forensic DNA samples contain sufficient DNA for genetic fingerprinting analysis. It quantifies the human DNA in the sample and establishes whether it contains inhibitors that may interfere with downstream applications. DNA quantification is based on real-time PCR and provides highly accurate data in less than 50 minutes with the Rotor-Gene Q thermocycler (but is also possible with other instruments).

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Interview with an Expert

One of the more specialized areas of crime-scene investigation has to do with searching for evidence of arson. To get some background in this area, we spoke with an individual who has had more than 46 years in fire service, 24 of which have focused specifically on fire/arson investigation.