DNA Extraction and Quantitation of Forensic Samples Using the Phenol-Chloroform Method and Real-Time PCR

  • Silvano Köchl
  • Harald Niederstätter
  • Walther Parson
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 297)


Forensic laboratories are increasingly confronted with problematic samples from the scene of crime, containing only minute amounts of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which may include polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-inhibiting substances. Efficient DNA extraction procedures, as well as accurate DNA quantification methods, are critical steps involved in the process of successful DNA analysis of such samples. The phenolchloroform method is a sensitive method for the extraction of DNA from a wide variety of forensic samples, although it is known to be laborious compared with singletube extraction methods. The relatively high DNA recovery and the quality of the extracted DNA speak for itself. For reliable and sensitive DNA quantitation, the application of realtime PCR is described. We modified a published real-time PCR assay, which allows for the combined analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, by introducing 1) improved hybridization probes with the use of minor groove binders; 2) an internal positive control (for both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA) for the detection of PCR inhibitors; and 3) different amplicon lengths for the determination of the degradation state of the DNA. The internal positive controls were constructed by site directed mutagenesis by overlap extension of the wild-type mitochondrial and nuclear DNA target with the advantage that no additional probes, which are cost-intensive, are required. The quantitation system is accomplished as a modular concept, which allows for the combined determination of the above-mentioned features (quantity/inhibition or quantity/degradation) depending on the situation,

Key Words

Real-time PCR (rtPCR) phenol-chloroform method forensic DNA extraction 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvano Köchl
    • 1
  • Harald Niederstätter
    • 1
  • Walther Parson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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