DNA is transferred, and persists, as both cellular and acellular material. When DNA is recovered from a sample, any cellular material is lysed, resulting in a mixture of both cellular and acellular DNA molecules, and a complete loss of information of what cell the DNA originated from. Cell of origin information could be critical in deconvoluting mixed samples - especially higher order mixed samples, ascribing a narrative to where a DNA molecule came from, when it was transferred and by whom. Our aim is to use single-cell approaches to link cell-of-origin information with the DNA profile of the same cell, with the goal of identifying DNA profiles of specific individuals in cases where there are complex, mixed DNA profiles. In a forensic setting, and where cellular material is present, cell phenotype linked with single-cell analysis could be used to link DNA profiles with the tissue of origin (blood, sperm, or different epithelial cell types). This phenotype could be morphological (microscopic) or molecular (e.g. RNA or epigenetic marks).
Our project will identify, extract and amplify single cell DNA, helping to determine the components of DNA mixtures and attribute origin, particularly focussed on sexual offences cases.
|Effective start/end date||1/04/24 → 31/03/25|