What Modern Forensic DNA Testing Capabilities Are Available?

The abilities of DNA testing have grown to provide investigators greater insight from biological data. This guide aims to offer a simple summary of the contemporary technology landscape, and to describe the circumstances and sample types which may benefit from novel and emerging techniques.

What novel tools are available and how do they differ from earlier technology?

For two decades, the forensic field has relied on the same DNA profiling technology. The limitations of this technology can be overcome through modern molecular biology advancements, such as massively parallel sequencing (MPS), also known as next-generation sequencing or NGS, which allows users to uncover additional data from evidence samples.

For example, within one test, NGS can probe for unique identity data and estimate physical characteristics at the same time. NGS is more economical and offers greater efficiency in both databasing and casework operating by typing all relevant forensic markers in one reaction.

Subsequently, the data is more revealing, with higher genetic resolution. This provides additional information from samples that were initially found inconclusive, including mixed DNA samples from two or more individuals.

Microarray genotyping, a technique for large scale analysis of thousands of genetic markers, is a further modern molecular tool. In a number of high-profile cases, this technique has been successfully employed to produce data for forensic genealogy searches where all other methods were ineffective.

However, there are technical limitations to this technique. For example, a sufficient quantity of single source, intact DNA is required. The use of this method can also generate a large number of leads, which subsequently necessitate extensive resources for investigation, employing both genetic and non-genetic data.

About Verogen, Inc.

Introducing the world’s first sequencing company solely dedicated to forensic science. Forensic laboratories are unique, and require unique scientific solutions.

We get this. Because we live it. We create thoughtfully tailored genomic solutions for forensic DNA labs. The kinds of tools we longed for when we worked in those labs ourselves. We formed an independent company with dedicated resources because we believe it’s the best way to fully address those unique needs.

The last few decades have seen tremendous advancements in molecular biology techniques, such as massively parallel sequencing. While our colleagues in other scientific fields have embraced and benefited from these improvements, forensic genomics has yet to realize the potential of the evolved technology. It’s time we had modern tools tailored to our needs.

Verogen understands this. Our sole focus is to advance science to help unlock the true potential of forensic genomics. Powered by Illumina technology and free of legacy method allegiance, we are uniquely positioned to support forensic labs with innovative solutions purpose-built for the challenges of DNA identification. Working in partnership with the community, we can elevate the forensic genomics lab’s role in preserving public safety—and improve global justice for all.

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Last updated: Feb 11, 2020 at 8:04 AM


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