U.S. Department of Justice


Date of this Version



SLAS Technology 2018, Vol. 23(1) 97– 105


© 2017 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening

This document is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.

DOI: 10.1177/2472630317732073


Hairs are commonly submitted as evidence to forensic laboratories, but standard nuclear DNA analysis is not always possible. Mitochondria (mt) provide another source of genetic material; however, manual isolation is laborious. In a proof-of-concept study, we assessed pressure cycling technology (PCT; an automated approach that subjects samples to varying cycles of high and low pressure) for extracting mtDNA from single, short hairs without roots. Using three microscopically similar donors, we determined the ideal PCT conditions and compared those yields to those obtained using the traditional manual micro-tissue grinder method. Higher yields were recovered from grinder extracts, but yields from PCT extracts exceeded the requirements for forensic analysis, with the DNA quality confirmed through sequencing. Automated extraction of mtDNA from hairs without roots using PCT could be useful for forensic laboratories processing numerous samples.