The influence of substrate on DNA transfer and extraction efficiency Academic Article uri icon


  • The circumstances surrounding deposition of DNA profiles are increasingly becoming an issue in court proceedings, especially whether or not the deposit was made by primary transfer. In order to improve the currently problematic evaluation of transfer scenarios in court proceedings, we examined the influence a variety of nine substrate types (six varieties of fabric, plywood, tarpaulin, and plastic sheets) has on DNA transfer involving blood. DNA transfer percentages were significantly higher (p=0.03) when the primary substrate was of non-porous material (such as tarpaulin, plastic or, to a lesser degree, wood) and the secondary substrate porous (such as fabrics). These findings on transfer percentages confirm the results of previous studies. Fabric composition was also shown to have a significant (p=0.03) effect on DNA transfer; when experiments were performed with friction from a variety of fabrics to a specific weave of cotton, transfer percentages ranged from 4% (flannelette) to 94% (acetate). The propensity for the same nine substrates to impact upon the efficiency of DNA extraction procedures was also examined. Significant (p=0.03) differences were found among the extraction efficiencies from different materials. When 15μL of blood was deposited on each of the substrates, the lowest quantity of DNA was extracted from plastic (20ng) and the highest quantities extracted from calico and flannelette (650ng). Significant (p<0.05) differences also exist among the DNA extraction yield from different initial blood volumes from all substrates. Also, significantly greater (p<0.05) loss of DNA was seen during concentration of extracts with higher compared to lower initial quantities of DNA. These findings suggest that the efficiency of extraction and concentration impacts upon the final amount of DNA available for analysis and that consideration of these effects should not be ignored. The application of correction factors to adjust for any variation among extraction and concentration efficiencies among substrates is proposed.

publication date

  • 2013