Targeted recovery of male cells in a male and female same-cell mixture

Jonathan Hogg, Amber C.W. Vandepoele, Nori Zaccheo, Janine Schulte, Iris Schulz, Jeremy Dubois, Morgan Frank, Michael A. Marciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA mixture deconvolution in the forensic DNA community has been addressed in a variety of ways. “Front-end” methods that separate the cellular components of mixtures can provide a significant benefit over computational methods as there is no need to rely on models with inherent uncertainty to generate conclusions. Historically, cell separation methods have been investigated but have been largely ineffective due to high cost, unreliability, and the lack of proper instrumentation. However, the last decade has given rise to more innovative technology that can target and recover cells more effectively. This study focuses on the development and optimization of a method to selectively label and recover male cells in a mixture of male and female epithelial cells using a Y-chromosome labeling kit with DEPArray™ technology, whereby male cells are labeled and recovered into a single extraction-ready tube. Labeling efficiency was tested using freshly collected and aged buccal swabs where 70%–75% and 38% of male cells were labeled, respectively, with less than 1% false positives. DEPArray™ detection was assessed using single buccal epithelial cells where approximately 80% of labeled cells were identified as male. Mixtures (1:1, 1:10, male to female) yielded profiles that were predominantly single source male or those in which the male component was more easily interpreted. The male-specific labeling method was demonstrated to be both robust and reliable when used on freshly collected cells. While the DEPArray™ meditated detection and recovery had notable limitations, it still improved the interpretation of the male component in same-cell mixtures in more recently collected samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • DNA mixtures
  • Y-chromosome labeling
  • cell separation
  • deparray
  • forensic DNA analysis
  • single cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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