DNA Receptors with Nanotags on Cartridges

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Design


First, this programme is about developing a new nanotechnology relevant to gun crime control. Second, it is about transferring this nanobioengineering to FSS, coating and ammunition manufacturers. Third, it is about communication of the higher rate of conviction for gun crime using the new technology. We therefore want to increase the amount of surviving and recoverable DNA on cartridges using DNA traps, having measured and modelled the T-t excursions experienced by a cartridge (Al, brass, etc) and tag illegal gun users.


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L Courteney (2008) Deterring Gun Crime: Making a material difference with biomimetic nanotags in Nature Nanotechnology Letters

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Sermon PA (2012) Deterring gun crime materially using forensic coatings. in Forensic science international

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Xu Y (2010) Design and manufacture of surface textures on gun cartridge cases to trap DNA material in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture

Description US and Australian work has shown that the effectiveness of extracting deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from standard gun cartridges is low and so analysis costs are high. The presence of greater than 1 ng of trapped bio-material would increase the success rates of DNA profiling and facilitate cheaper DNA analysis.

The aim of this work was to increase the amount of recoverable DNA from a gun user deposited on fired cartridges, using microtextured surfaces as DNA receptors. Success would increase the probability of identifying perpetrators of gun crime through DNA matching.

Various textures were applied to flat surfaces of cartridge case material and the effects of those surface textures on trapping skin materials evaluated. In addition to treated/patterned surfaces, standard emery abrasive paper was adopted as a control medium. From the different surfaces tested, the emery abrasive paper was found to be most effective at trapping skin debris.

Rough surfaces with pyramid textures, which are similar to features on emery paper, were subsequently manufactured on cartridge rims by a standard knurling process. Scratch tests were carried out to simulate the process of handling and loading these cartridges during the use of firearms. DNA test results of the knurled cartridges after firing, showed a high success rate of DNA profiling and high matching percentage to the donor's DNA profile.
Exploitation Route We showed that the amount of recoverable DNA from a gun user deposited on fired cartridges could be increased by manufacturing microtextured surfaces on the cartridges. It is possible that governments concerned with increasing gun crime detection rates could legislate to require microtextured surfaces to be applied to gun cartridges.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://pib.sagepub.com/content/224/8/1229.short
Description Andura 
Organisation Andura Coatings
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
Description BAE Systems Operations Ltd 
Organisation BAE Systems
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2006
Description Forensic Science Service Ltd 
Organisation Home Office
Department Forensic Science Regulator
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006