Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Dr. Kuppareddi Balamurugan

Committee Chair Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 2

Dr. Dean Bertram

Committee Member 2 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 3

Dr. Shiao Wang

Committee Member 3 Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

In Forensic Science casework, identifying the source of a tissue can assist in crime scene reconstruction. Currently, presumptive testing methods to identify tissue type are utilized in crime scene laboratories, but there is a need for a more reliable confirmatory test for tissue type identification. High Resolution Melt (HRM) analysis is an innovative technology that has the potential to determine tissue types through variations in DNA methylation patterns. Recently, DNA methylation patterns have been found to correspond with specific tissue types in particular regions of DNA. Two markers, B_SPTB_03 and DDX4 have been effective in differentiating sperm from other tissue types, and two markers, cg-6379435 and cg-8792630 have been effective in differentiating blood from other tissue types. This study was conducted to examine if HRM analysis could differentiate tissue type based on DNA methylation patterns. For the two sperm markers examined, B_SPTB_03 had a melting temperature of 3.5 higher than the other tissue types tested (skin epithelial, vaginal epithelial, blood, and buccal), and DDX4 had a melting temperature that was 3.0 lower than the other tissue types. In addition, both of the blood markers, cg-06379435 and cg-08792630 were found to have melting temperatures approximately 1.0 higher than the other tissue types. The differentiation in melting temperature depends on three factors: the number of CpG sites available for study, the amount of methylation differences between two tissues, and the % difference in the DNA sequences between two tissue types.

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