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Development of novel strategies to maximise recovery and analysis of sub-optimal DNA for forensic and ancient DNA studies (HLS/SE/DRFAPP7P/63594)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Graham
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

The current gold standard for assessment of DNA extracted from forensic sample types is real-time PCR. This method can provide information about the quantity, biological sex and to a limited extent, quality of the DNA recovered from a given sample. These methods do not provide any information regarding the nature of post-mortem chemical modifications affecting the template material. Previous studies have shown that such modification may occur more prevalently at rapidly mutating areas of the mitochondrial genome, such as hypervariable regions 1 and 2 that are traditionally used for forensic and ancient DNA analysis. Little is known about the areas affected in nuclear DNA.

This project will utilize both chemical and biological techniques to develop a novel analytical method for the assessment of quality for both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA at the molecular level. The development of such a tool will allow for a more targeted approach to downstream processes maximizing the amount of genetic information that can be assembled from the most challenging sample types encountered in the forensic laboratory. Methods of DNA repair and enrichment strategies will be investigated to determine the optimal workflow for a range of different sample types including touch-DNA samples and skeletal material of various age. The success rate of the new approaches will be assessed using contemporary methodology for STR profiling and Next Generation Sequencing approaches.

Informal Enquiries
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/
Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Eligibility
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/
Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

How to Apply
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/
Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Funding Notes

This studentship is only open to self-funding candidates. Self-funding candidates are expected to pay University fees and to provide their own living costs. In addition, a ‘bench fee’ will have to be paid to cover project running costs (at a level that will be determined specifically for each project).

References

Graham, Eleanor, Watkins, William, Dunstan, Frank, Maguire, Sabine, Nuttall, Diane, Swinfield, Chloe, Rutty, Guy and Kemp, Alison (2014) Defining background DNA levels found on the skin of children aged 0-5 years. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 128 (2). pp. 251-258. ISSN 0937-9827

Rutty, Guy, Barber, Jade, Amoroso, Jasmin, Morgan, Bruno and Graham, Eleanor (2013) The effect on cadaver blood DNA identification by the use of targeted and whole body post-mortem computed tomography angiography. Forensic Science Medicine and Pathology, 9 (4). pp. 489-495. ISSN 1556-2891

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