Comparison between MACSprep™ forensic sperm microbead kit and Erase Sperm Isolation kit for the enrichment of sperm fractions recovered from sexual assault samples.


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Comparison between MACSprep™ forensic sperm microbead kit and Erase Sperm Isolation kit for the enrichment of sperm fractions recovered from sexual assault samples.
International journal of legal medicine
Grosjean F., Favre M., Castella V.
1437-1596 (Electronic)
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Publication types: Journal Article
Publication Status: aheadofprint
Sexual assault samples often contain mixtures of cells coming from at least two donors. Ideally, one would need to separate the cells into two cellular fractions: one consisting of the alleged aggressor's spermatozoa (the sperm fraction) and the other containing the victim's epithelial cells (the non-sperm fraction). This separation increases the probability of obtaining the alleged offender's autosomal DNA profile. However, spermatozoa are often collected along with an excess of biological material originating from the victim, and with unfavorable male:female biological material ratios, the absence of separation could result in the PCR amplification of the victim's DNA profile only. Several approaches are available to enrich/purify the spermatozoa present on sexual assault samples. In this paper, we compare a new method, the MACSprep™ Forensic Sperm MicroBead Kit (MACSprep, based on microbeads conjugated with antibodies bound to spermatozoa and their retention within a magnetic column) with the Erase Sperm Isolation Kit (Erase, a standard differential lysis separation procedure combined with a specific removal of free DNA) routinely used in our lab. The performance of both kits was tested using sets of vaginal and buccal swabs loaded with different dilutions of sperm, or azoospermic semen, representing a total of 120 independent samples. For the samples containing undiluted sperm, an average recovery of 58% was observed for the MACSprep's sperm fractions and 43% for Erase's. Significantly better recovery of azoospermic semen was observed in MACSprep's non-sperm fractions (~ 85%) compared to Erase (~ 28%). Erase performed significantly better than MACSprep in terms of recovery for diluted sperm samples (1:10 to 1:800 sperm dilutions) in the presence of vaginal cells, while the purities of the achieved sperm fractions were in favor of MACSprep for the highest sperm dilutions tested. Similar trends were observed with buccal swabs loaded with 1:200 sperm dilutions. Increased sperm dilutions on vaginal swabs resulted in higher variability in the male material recovered, whatever the separation method used. Both methods were easy to perform and resulted in male DNA extracts ready to use in less than 2 h. Both kits showed their specificities in terms of recovery efficiency and purity of the sperm fractions. Ideally, additional experiments should be performed in different laboratories, using workflow and chemistries different than ours, to better define the peculiarities observed with MACSprep for high dilutions. Improving the recovery of MACSprep for diluted samples, in addition to its better purity observed in the experiments performed, could make it a method of choice for laboratory workflow, despite MACSprep's current price per sample being about twice the price of Erase's.
Pathology and Forensic Medicine, DNA extraction, Differential lysis, Forensic genetics, STR profile, Sexual assault samples, Spermatozoa separation
Open Access
University of Lausanne
Create date
01/07/2022 8:54
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15/07/2022 6:35
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