Reducing the risk of (cross-)contamination, improving the chain of custody, providing fast analysis times and options of direct analysis at crime scenes: these requirements within forensic DNA analysis can be met upon using microfluidic devices. To become generally applied in forensics, the most important requirements for microfluidic devices are: analysis time, method of DNA detection and biocompatibility of used materials. In this work an overview is provided about biosensing of DNA, by DNA profiling via standard short tandem repeat (STR) analysis or by next generation sequencing. The material of which a forensic microfluidic device is made is crucial: it should for example not inhibit DNA amplification and its thermal conductivity and optical transparency should be suitable for achieving fast analysis. The characteristics of three materials frequently used materials, i.e., glass, silicon and PDMS, are given, in addition to a promising alternative, viz. cyclic olefin copolymer (COC). New experimental findings are presented about the biocompatibility of COC and the use of COC chips for multiple displacement amplification and real-time monitoring of DNA amplification.
- DNA analysis