From your eyes only: Efficiency of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA isolation from contact lenses at crime scenes

Sara C. Zapico, Krizia Crucet, Aleksandra Antevska, Rosalina Fernandez-Paradas, Christina Burns, Cassandra DeGaglia, Douglas H. Ubelaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recovering appropriate evidence from crime scenes to identify the perpetrator, or in certain cases, the victim, is one of the main goals of forensic investigation. The current practice includes collection of objects from which “trace” or “touch” DNA may be retrieved. Contact lenses, worn by the perpetrator/victim, represent a potentially good source of DNA. This is based on their exposure to touch DNA and the release and regeneration of epithelial cells from the eye. This study takes these premises into account with the objective of analyzing the efficiency of human nuclear and mitochondrial DNA isolation from contact lenses. DNA was collected using a non-destructive technique (double-swab) and subsequently isolated using a silica-based methodology. Although DNA quantification was variable among subjects and contact lenses, it was sufficient to amplify some STRs and successfully sequence mtDNA. The findings from this research provide a proof-of-concept that it is possible to recover, isolate, amplify human nuclear DNA, and characterize mitochondrial DNA from contact lenses left at crime scenes. These results show the potential importance of recovering unusual items from crime scenes as a potential source of DNA to identify the victim and/or suspect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-125
Number of pages4
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


  • Contact lens
  • Double-swab
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • STRs
  • Touch DNA


Dive into the research topics of 'From your eyes only: Efficiency of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA isolation from contact lenses at crime scenes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this