Performance Testing of a Semi-Automatic Card Punch System, Using Direct STR Profiling of DNA from Blood Samples on FTA™ Cards

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The 1.2 mm Electric Coring Tool (e-Core™) was developed to increase the throughput of FTA™ sample collection cards used during forensic workflows and is similar to a 1.2 mm Harris manual micro-punch for sampling dried blood spots. Direct short tandem repeat (STR) DNA profiling was used to compare samples taken by the e-Core tool with those taken by the manual micro-punch. The performance of the e-Core device was evaluated using a commercially available PowerPlex™ 18D STR System. In addition, an analysis was performed that investigated the potential carryover of DNA via the e-Core punch from one FTA disc to another. This contamination study was carried out using Applied Biosystems AmpflSTR™ Identifiler™ Direct PCR Amplification kits. The e-Core instrument does not contaminate FTA discs when a cleaning punch is used following excision of discs containing samples and generates STR profiles that are comparable to those generated by the manual micro-punch.

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