International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 133, Issue 2, pp 419–426 | Cite as

Whose blood is it? Application of DEPArray™ technology for the identification of individual/s who contributed blood to a mixed stain

  • K. AnslingerEmail author
  • B. Bayer
Method Paper


The interpretation and statistical evaluation of mixed DNA profiles often presents a particular challenge in forensic DNA investigations. Only in specific combinations can single cellular components of a mixture be assigned to one contributor. In this study, the DEPArray™ technology, which enables image-assisted immunofluorescent-sorting of rare single cells using dielectrophoretic (DEP) forces, was applied together with different preliminary tests to identify the individual/s who contributed blood to a given mixture. The technique was successfully applied in two routine casework samples. In order to ascertain how old a stain can be and still be processed successfully, white blood cells from two 10- and one 27-year-old stains were investigated. Depending on the stain’s age, the associated DNA degradation level and the number of target cells successfully isolated, the final profile reflects a compromise between the gain of information due to isolation of pure cells of a specific cell type from a single contributor and the loss of discriminatory power due to incomplete profiles caused by DNA degradation.


DEPArray™ technology Mixed DNA profiles Cell separation White blood cells Cold case 



We thank Menarini Silicon Biosystems for the provision of the DEPArray™ system, as well as for the valuable support and Eppendorf for providing necessary laboratory equipment.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Legal MedicineLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany

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