An integratable microfluidic cartridge for forensic swab samples lysis

Jianing Yang, Carla Brooks, Matthew D. Estes, Cedric M. Hurth, Frederic Zenhausern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Fully automated rapid forensic DNA analysis requires integrating several multistep processes onto a single microfluidic platform, including substrate lysis, extraction of DNA from the released lysate solution, multiplexed PCR amplification of STR loci, separation of PCR products by capillary electrophoresis, and analysis for allelic peak calling. Over the past several years, most of the rapid DNA analysis systems developed started with the reference swab sample lysate and involved an off-chip lysis of collected substrates. As a result of advancement in technology and chemistry, addition of a microfluidic module for swab sample lysis has been achieved in a few of the rapid DNA analysis systems. However, recent reports on integrated rapid DNA analysis systems with swab-in and answer-out capability lack any quantitative and qualitative characterization of the swab-in sample lysis module, which is important for downstream forensic sample processing. Maximal collection and subsequent recovery of the biological material from the crime scene is one of the first and critical steps in forensic DNA technology. Herein we present the design, fabrication and characterization of an integratable swab lysis cartridge module and the test results obtained from different types of commonly used forensic swab samples, including buccal, saliva, and blood swab samples, demonstrating the compatibility with different downstream DNA extraction chemistries. This swab lysis cartridge module is easy to operate, compatible with both forensic and microfluidic requirements, and ready to be integrated with our existing automated rapid forensic DNA analysis system. Following the characterization of the swab lysis module, an integrated run from buccal swab sample-in to the microchip CE electropherogram-out was demonstrated on the integrated prototype instrument. Therefore, in this study, we demonstrate that this swab lysis cartridge module is: (1) functionally, comparable with routine benchtop lysis, (2) compatible with various types of swab samples and chemistries, and (3) integratable to achieve a micro total analysis system (μTAS) for rapid DNA analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-158
Number of pages12
JournalForensic Science International: Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • DNA extraction and quantification
  • Forensic swab sample
  • Integratable
  • Lysis efficiency
  • STR analysis
  • Swab lysis cartridge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'An integratable microfluidic cartridge for forensic swab samples lysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this