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Open source software tool for the automated detection and characterization of epithelial cells from trace biological samples

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 312 Dated: 2020
Date Published

This article presents a strategy for an unsupervised workflow for identifying epithelial cells in microscopic images and characterizing their morphological and/or optical properties.


The proposed method can be used on cells that have been stained with fluorescent dyes and imaged using conventional optical microscopes. The workflow was tested on cell populations that were imaged directly on touch/contact surfaces and stained with nucleic acid dyes to visualize genetic content. The results show that this approach could be a useful strategy for characterizing differences in staining efficiency and/or morphological properties of individual cells or aggregate populations within a biological sample. Further, they can potentially reduce the laborious nature of microscopic analysis and increase throughput and reproducibility of similar studies. (publisher abstract modified)


Date Published: January 1, 2020