Laser capture microdissection in forensic research: a review.
In forensic sciences, short tandem repeat (STR) analysis has become the prime tool for DNA-based identification of the donor(s) of biological stains and/or traces. Many traces, however, contain cells and, hence, DNA, from more than a single individual, giving rise to mixed genotypes and the subsequent difficulties in interpreting the results. An even more challenging situation occurs when cells of a victim are much more abundant than the cells of the perpetrator. Therefore, the forensic community seeks to improve cell-separation methods in order to generate single-donor cell populations from a mixed trace in order to facilitate DNA typing and identification. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) offers a valuable tool for precise separation of specific cells. This review summarises all possible forensic applications of LCM, gives an overview of the staining and detection options, including automated detection and retrieval of cells of interest, and reviews the DNA extraction protocols compatible with LCM of cells from forensic samples.