Forensic DNA: Sperm Detection and Separation

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The detection of sperm and separation of sperm cells from the victim's DNA is crucial to identifying and characterizing the perpetrator's DNA profile. Improved automation of sperm detection and separation will enable more rape kits to be processed in a timely manner to help solve sexual assault crimes more effectively. Traditionally sperm cells are identified visually in evidentiary samples through light microscopy. New techniques are under development to aid improved visualization of sperm heads and tails with fluorescent staining as well as sperm cell isolation through laser capture microdissection.

Research Projects

The table below presents awards funded both prior to and under the DNA Initiative, which began in 2004.

Title Awardee Amount Award Number
Development of an Automated Holographic Optical Trapping Method for Rape Kit Analysis Arryx, Incorporated 2009-DN-BX-K260 $362,800
Proximity Ligation Real time PCR for the Detection of Spermatozoa The George Washington University 2012-DN-BX-K034 $263,313
Rapid and Selective Extraction of Male DNA From Rape Kits and Other Forensic Evidence Using Pressure Cycling Florida International University 2011-NE-BX-K550 $349,130
Development of an Immuno-Magnetic Procedure for the Separation of Spermatozoa from Vaginal Epithelial Cells Research Foundation of CUNY, c/o John Jay College 2011-NE-BX-K547 $196,720
Automated Sperm Detection in Forensic DNA Analysis: Implications for Rape Kit Analysis Arryx, Inc. 2011-DN-BX-K562 $360,748
Denver Police Department, Crime Laboratory Bureau: Forensic DNA Research and Development - Sperm Capture Using Aptamer Based Technology Denver Police Department 2009-DN-BX-K043 $405,812
Microdevice for Sperm and Sperm DNA Isolation Oak Ridge National Laboratory 2008-IJ-R-134 $445,673
Detection and Quantitation of Spermatozoa Paternity Testing Corporation 2008-IJ-CX-K007 $361,651
Holographic Optical Trapping in Forensic Research and Development: Application to Rape Kit Analysis Arryx, Inc 2008-DN-BX-K123 $252,026
Sperm Capture Using Aptamer-Based Technology Denver, City and County of 2007-DN-BX-K143 $370,813
Laser Microdissection as a Technique to Isolate Sperm Cells and Improve the Analysis of Touch Evidence Bode Technology Group, Inc. 2006-DN-BX-K032 $191,429
Development of a Procedure for Dielectrophoretic Separation of Sperm and Epithelial Cells for Application to Sexual Assault Case Evidence California Department of Justice 2005-DA-BX-K001 $205,407
Development of an Automated System to Detect Spermatozoa on Laboratory Slides Vermont Department of Public Safety 2004-DN-BX-K003 $214,629
Development of High-Throughput Method to Isolate Sperm DNA Connecticut Department of Public Safety 2003-IJ-CX-K103 $123,300

Research Articles and Reports

Select a title to view an abstract from PubMed database (National Library of Medicine's) unless a different file type is indicated.

Title Authors Publication Year Awardee Award Number
Laser Microdissection Separation of Pure Spermatozoa Populations from Mixed Cell Samples for Forensic DNA Analysis (pdf, 100 pages) Christine T. Sanders; Emily K. Reisenbigler; Daniel A. Peterson Final Grant Report 2007 Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science 2004-DN-BX-K215
Development of a High-Throughput Method to Isolate Sperm DNA in Sexual Assault Cases (pdf, 31 pages) Carll Ladd; Eric Carita; Elaine Pagliaro; Alex Garvin; Andrew Crumbie; Henry Lee Final Grant Report 2006 Connecticut Department of Public Safety 2003-IJ-CX-K103
Laser microdissection separation of pure spermatozoa from epithelial cells for short tandem repeat analysis Sanders CT, Sanches N, Ballantyne J, Peterson DA J Forensic Sci. 2006 Jul; 51(4):748-57 2006 Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science 2004-DN-BX-K215
Date Modified: October 11, 2012