New DNA Quantification Kits Enable Precision-Guided Forensic Analysis of Highly Compromised Human Samples
21 Feb 2014

Forensic scientists can now more quickly assess the quantity and quality of human DNA in highly compromised and degraded casework samples and provide the critical information needed to drive informed decisions on subsequent steps in the analysis process, thanks to two new Life Technologies quantification solutions announced today by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

At the same time, the company is also introducing a next generation sequencing (NGS)-based single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) solution for laboratories interested in extending their interrogation capabilities on compromised DNA samples beyond the industry’s validated capillary electrophoresis (CE) platform. All three products -- Quantifiler Trio and Quantifiler HP (Human Plus) Quantification kits, and the HID-Ion AmpliSeq Identity Panel -- are being launched at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences conference, which is being held Feb. 17-22 in Seattle.

Overcoming the challenges of highly degraded and inhibited casework samples

Highly degraded and inhibited casework samples pose particular challenges for forensic scientists. Choosing the most appropriate path toward the short tandem repeat (STR) PCR reaction is difficult when the sample amount and integrity is not known with absolute certainty. A wrong decision can lead to poor results for such difficult casework samples, along with wasted resources and lab time. Both the Quantifiler Trio and HP DNA Quantification kits help overcome these obstacles and the associated guesswork through enhanced autosomal targets that have been designed for maximum quantification and reproducibility along with new tools to assess sample degradation and inhibition.

Both chemistries enable forensic analysts to screen samples more efficiently and better discriminate between human and non-human DNA, while the Quantifiler Trio kit features an improved male target for increased quantitation reliability in excess amounts of female DNA, commonly seen in sexual assault samples.

When paired with the new HID Real-Time PCR Analysis v1.2 Software, the complementary solutions drive well-informed workflow decisions before proceeding to the STR reaction. Efficiency has also been increased since 6 percent more casework samples can now be processed at once, as well as a 33 percent reduction in the PCR cycle to drive faster time to results.

NGS Identity Panels Drive Deep Analysis of Challenging Samples

 
The HID-Ion AmpliSeq Identity Panel is one of the first publically available, high-throughput NGS solutions. It was developed in collaboration with leading forensic scientists and enables researchers to identify degraded samples in 1.5 days from as little as 1 ng of input DNA.
Run on the Ion PGM system, the HID-Ion AmpliSeq Identity Panel enables 50 or more samples to be multiplexed to drive down cost, while delivering sample specificity and low match probabilities comparable to a 13-core CODIS STR set. It is also available with integrated software tools to easily analyze and export results.

New possibilities for forensic information

“The biggest impact [of next-generation sequencing] is that we will be able to combine a large number of genetic markers of different types in a single run, including markers such as STRs and SNPs, potentially even RNA that cannot be multiplexed with any other current technology,” said Dr. Manfred Kayser, department of Forensic Molecular Biology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. “This will open up new possibilities as various types of forensically relevant information can be obtained from a single sample in a single analysis.”

The Ion PGM System combines semiconductor sequencing technology with natural biochemistry to directly translate chemical information into digital data. It is designed to democratize sequencing and make it accessible to virtually any laboratory or research facility. The system’s simplicity eliminates the need for expensive optics and reduces complex chemistries to measure natural DNA extension.

“Life Technologies is continually innovating to ensure it is delivering the most advanced forensic analysis products to help prevent and solve crimes,” said Nadia Altomare, vice president and general manager, Human Identification, for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “To that end, our latest quantification kits and NGS-based identity panels empower our customers to make highly informed workflow decisions, and expand their capabilities to interrogate relevant genetic markers to help investigate challenging cases.”

For more information on the Quantifiler Trio and Quantifiler Human Plus DNA Quantification kits, and the HID-Ion AmpliSeq Identity Panel, visit the Life Technologies booth (#104) at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences conference (Feb. 17-21) in Seattle, Wash.

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Sarah Thomas
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