DNA typing has revolutionized criminal investigations and has become a powerful tool in the identification of individuals in criminal and paternity cases. Forensic DNA Biology: A Laboratory Manual is comprised of up-to-date and practical experiments and step-by-step instructions on how to perform DNA analysis, including pipetting, microscopy and hair analysis, presumptive testing of body fluids and human DNA typing. Modern DNA typing techniques are provided, reflecting real life, where not all institutions and crime labs can afford the same equipment and software. Real case studies will be used throughout and the author will provide an Instructor Manual and PowerPoint lecture slides.

Key Features

* Provides practical step-by-step instruction on how to perform forensic DNA analysis
* Includes analysis of hair, presumptive testing of body fluids, human DNA typing and statistics
* Covers techniques such as pipetting, microscopy and DNA extraction
* Pre- and post-lab exercises and questions assist the reader in learning the material
* Report writing templates assure the reader learns real world crime lab procedure


Upper-level, undergraduate or graduate students majoring in forensic science, chemistry or biology, academia and newly practicing forensic scientists.

Table of Contents

1. Pipetting
2. Serology
3. Sampling Biological Evidence for DNA Extraction
4. DNA Extraction
5. Determination of quality and quantity of DNA using agarose gel electrophoresis
6. Determination of DNA quality and quantity using UV-vis spectroscopy
7. Determination of DNA quantity by fluorescence spectroscopy
8. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) quantitation of DNA
9. Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primer design (in silico)
10. Testing designed PCR primers in multiplex reactions
11. Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of short tandem repeat (STR) loci using a commercial kit
12. Capillary electrophoresis of short-tandem repeat (STR) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products from a commercial multiplex kit
13. Computing random match probability from DNA profile  data using population databases
14. Mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (mtDNA) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) detection
15. Analysis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence data using bioedit
16. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction
17. Y-STR PCR amplification
18. Human genetic analysis: paternity or missing persons cases and statistics
19. Low copy number stochastic results
20. Using in silico methods to construct a short tandem repeat (STR) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence for cloning
21. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extraction from botanical material and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification
22. Social, ethical and regulatory concerns
23. Selected forensic DNA biology case studies
Appendix:  Allele frequencies of CODIS loci


No. of pages:
© 2013
Academic Press
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the author

Kelly Elkins

Dr. Elkins is Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Towson University where she teaches in the Masters of Science in Forensic Chemistry Program. Previously, she was the Director of Forensic Science and Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Metropolitan State College of Denver. She has her Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and her PhD in Chemistry with an emphasis on Biochemistry. Focused on the Forensic DNA field, she has developed a network of contacts in crime laboratories throughout Colorado and the Four Corners region and looks forward to extending her network in the Baltimore/DC area.

Affiliations and Expertise

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry Department and Forensic Chemistry Program, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA


"This manual presents a collection of novel laboratory experiments intended for advanced undergraduate students and those new to the field of forensic DNA biology and DNA typing."--Evidence Technology Magazine, July-August 2013