The success rate of STR profiling of hairs found at a crime scene is quite low and negative results of hair analysis are frequently reported. To increase the success rate of DNA analysis of hairs in forensics, nuclei in hair roots can be counted after staining the hair root with DAPI. Two staining methods were tested: a longer method with two 1 h incubations in respectively a DAPI- and a wash-solution, and a fast, direct staining of the hair root on microscope slides. The two staining methods were not significantly different. The results of the STR analysis for both procedures showed that 20 nuclei are necessary to obtain at least partial STR profiles. When more than 50 nuclei were counted, full STR profiles were always obtained. In 96% of the cases where no nuclei were detected, no STR profile could be obtained. However, 4% of the DAPI-negative hair roots resulted in at least partial STR profiles. Therefore, each forensic case has to be evaluated separately in function of the importance of the evidential value of the found hair. The fast staining method was applied in 36 forensic cases on 279 hairs in total. A fast screening method using DAPI can be used to increase the success rate of hair analysis in forensics. © 2014 The Authors.
Lepez, T., Vandewoestyne, M., Van Hoofstat, D., & Deforce, D. (2014). Fast nuclear staining of head hair roots as a screening method for successful STR analysis in forensics. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 13, 191–194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsigen.2014.08.003