Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Clifton Bishop

Committee Co-Chair

Timothy Driscoll

Committee Member

Timothy Driscoll

Committee Member

Tina Moroose


Biological evidence is extremely valuable in the investigation of a crime due to the presence of DNA. DNA evidence is considered the gold standard in court cases due to its ability to link a suspect to a piece of evidence. In addition to DNA evidence, biological stains have the potential to provide a temporal link between an individual and a crime scene. Previous studies have shown that relative rates of RNA degradation can be used in order to estimate the age of bloodstains. Here, we examined the ability of droplet digital PCR to be used in place of quantitative PCR in such an assay. Droplet digital PCR was unsuccessful in estimating the age of a bloodstain due to the difficulty associated with multiplexing linked targets. We also found that comparing rates of mRNA to rRNA degradation was not possible due to the large difference in abundance of the two types of RNA and the dynamic range of the instrument. Although droplet digital PCR was unsuccessful as a tool to estimate the age of a bloodstain, this work still provides valuable information for the refinement of an assay that can estimate the age of biological fluid stains.

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