Automated DNA Extraction

Automated DNA Extraction, Liam Phillips (Master’s 2013)

Automated DNA Extraction, Liam Phillips (Master's 2013)Forensic scientists spend considerable time extracting DNA from biological evidence.In some cases (for example, skeletal material and sexual assault evidence containing a mixture of male sperm cells and female cells), the time necessary to complete the extraction can be quite long – up to 2 days.This project is focused on shortening the time of DNA extractionfor skeletal material (bone and tooth powder) and the development of a differential DNA extraction protocol for sexual assault evidence using the PrepfilerExpress BTA™ kit from Applied Biosystems, a LifeTechnologies company.  The goal is to produce results as good as or better than current methods allow.

Automated DNA Extraction, Katie O’Hanlon (Master’s 2011)

Automated DNA Extraction with Katie O'Hanlon (Master's 2011)Our laboratory has also evaluated the  Prepfiler Express™ kit on the Automate Express™ robotic platform as a tool for purification of DNA lysates (i.e., following a lysis step using any of a number of methods). This approach provided results that are comparable to purification with phenol/chloroform/isoamyl alcohol followed by ethanol precipitation. Two clear advantages of the automated approach are eliminating the use of a hazardous chemical like phenol, and the fact that a DNA analyst is free to do other activities while the Automate Express™ is performing the purification steps.


The Forensic Science program at Penn State has a formal agreement with Life- Technologies that benefits students and faculty, and assists LifeTechnologies with product evaluation and development.