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UC Davis Researcher Gives Account of M-Vac System Experience

Shane Williams is an up and coming forensic scientist who is also becoming an expert in DNA and DNA collection.  His research at UC Davis was part of an amazing project centered around generating DNA profiles from various sexual assault scenarios that is changing the way forensic scientists and law enforcement investigators approach solving rapes, sexual assaults, murders and other heinous crimes.  Shane provided the following quote about his experience with the M-Vac:

“For my thesis research, I used the M-Vac to collect salivary DNA from the skin. The saliva was deposited on the skin, subjected to a shower, and collected for DNA analysis. I’m happy to announce that the M-Vac successfully recovered the salivary DNA from the skin after the subject showered. In addition, I successfully profiled the samples with Y-Short Tandem Repeats (STRs) matching the collected DNA to the male saliva donor.

During the course of my project, I found the M-Vac to be a user-friendly machine. The M-Vac was extremely useful for large surface area recovery. I appreciated that I could collect from a large surface area and yet have only one sample for DNA purification, quantification, and profiling. To cover the same amount of surface area with the traditional cotton swab(s) would have required many collections. The M-Vac is gentle on the skin and never caused any bruising, marks, or irritation to the skin of my participants. In fact, the participants looked forward to having the saliva collected with the M-Vac.

I was concerned about the buffer filtering process, but found those concerns to be invalid. I passed the buffer over the filter multiple times in a matter of minutes. Then I was able to purify (extract) the DNA on the filter with the same method as a cotton swab. This allowed me to process the filter alongside other traditional collections with no special treatment. I’m proud to say I used the M-Vac for my thesis research, and I believe the machine will become a valuable tool for all forensic laboratories.

If you would like to read more about my thesis research and results obtained with the M-Vac, please reference the article “Recovery of Salivary DNA from the Skin after Showering” that will soon be published by the Journal of Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology.”

Shane Williams   University of California – Davis Forensic Science Master’s Program Graduate

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