Novel Applicator Using FTA Paper to Collect Touch DNA

Tech ID: 27238 / UC Case 2016-191-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a novel approach to an applicator designed to expedite and increase the efficiency of the DNA collection process at crime scenes.

Full Description

Touch DNA collected from crime scenes is a powerful tool. However, Forensic Scientists must carefully choose the touch DNA collection most useful on a particular surface. Swabs work well for collection of a high volume sample deposited on a small surface area, however DNA may be inefficiently collected and/or purified from the swab. FTA paper, on the other hand, can work over a large, smooth surface area and was shown to collect 2-fold higher amounts of DNA deposited on non-porous surfaces compared to swabs. However, wet FTA filter paper was observed to easily tear apart when collecting DNA from a rough surface such as a car steering wheel.

Researchers at the University of California Davis have developed a novel approach to an applicator designed to expedite and increase the efficiency of the touch DNA collection process in a variety of situations. The applicator consists of an FTA fabric attached to a foam applicator with a handle. This design offers many benefits when compared to the traditional methods including its ability to cover a large surface, use a less brittle FTA paper while maintaining all the advantages of FTA cards, and produce a higher DNA yield. In addition, the device can be used on a large variety of surface areas and surfaces making the job of a forensic analyst easier and more efficient.


  • Collecting touch DNA


  • Covers a larger surface area before drying out/saturating with a material when compared to traditional methods
  • Enables deposit of DNA directly on FTA fabric
  • Eliminates the need for DNA transfer (which can decrease yield)
  • FTA filter is modified with cotton making it less fragile
  • Higher yields of touch DNA
  • A very flexible and simple method

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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  • Calloway, Cassandra
  • Kirgiz, Irina

Other Information


touch DNA, FTA paper, DNA collection device, forensic DNA

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