Veronica Poole

For my Honors thesis, my research has focused on the analysis of low-quantity and low-quality DNA. Crime scene investigation has made significant advancements in the collection and analysis of exceedingly small DNA samples, such as touch DNA. However, the realm of touch DNA remains relatively unexplored, lacking a comprehensive understanding of its components. My primary objective has been to enhance our understanding of touch DNA by characterizing and quantifying the role of cell-free DNA within primary touch DNA samples. Increased knowledge of the role of cell-free DNA in touch samples has the potential to improve collection techniques and downstream applications.

One unforeseen aspect of this experience was the boost in self-confidence that this project gave me. As I delved into this project and gained hands-on laboratory experience, I discovered a newfound ability to troubleshoot and adapt when faced with challenges, instilling a deep sense of confidence in my research capabilities. As I near the completion of my research project, my plans involve extending and refining my work. One potential avenue for further exploration is investigating how the presence of cell-free DNA changes over time since deposition and its impact on the quality of DNA profiles generated from touch DNA. As we collect more data and insights, the specific direction of our research will become clearer, paving the way for potential publications and broader applications to the field of forensics.

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