UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences


Trace DNA

Trace DNA

Our research within forensic DNA analysis aims to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of trace DNA (DNA that can be recovered, but its biological source, whether from a body fluid or shed skin cells or a combination of both, is unknown). 

In absence of this knowledge, it is often difficult for forensic scientists to evaluate how or when trace DNA was deposited on the surface from which it was recovered. 

Current research

  • The amount, the quality, and the persistence of DNA that has been deposited in a range of ways, such as through touching an item or speaking within its vicinity.
  • The potential onward transfer of such DNA. 
  • The generation of empirical data to assist the interpretation and evaluation of trace DNA when it is recovered from a crime scene or a pertinent exhibit.

Research projects

  • Establishing empirical evidence bases for the occurrence of transfers of trace DNA.
  • Identification of multiple transfers of trace DNA.


Dr Georgina Meakin
Dr Ruth Morgan
Professor Mark Thomas