Research: Extraction and Quantification of Mitochondrial DNA from Human Hair Extensions

This study seeks to utilize current extraction techniques and detection technologies to recover, quantify, amplify, and sequence mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from processed human hair extensions and to determine if the grade or quality of the hair extensions affects the results.  In addition to isolating and sequencing mtDNA, this study will seek to differentiate between a processed human hair extension and a real human head hair based on physical, optical, and chemical attributes. For comparative analyses between the processed human hair extensions and real human head hairs both a stereomicroscope and an inverted research microscope will be used to determine if there are any significant physical or optical differences. Chemical analyses will also be conducted to identify the presence of processing chemicals used in the manufacturing of the extensions.  Possible instrumentation for chemical evaluation includes solid phase micro-extraction (SPME) or liquid-chromatography mass-spectrometry.  The detection of these chemicals may allow for the identification of a human hair as an extension and may also link an extension back to the manufacturer.