Tag Archives: forensics

Assessment of NGS Tools for Crime Laboratories

protocolUS Researchers has been awarded with $825,000 to evaluate the use of NGS technology for forensic applications.

Pennsylvania State University will work in conjunction with the Battelle Memorial Institute, the lead institution on the grant, and 6 other laboratories. As the sole university partner, Penn State will be performing evaluations of forensic investigative tools that will expand the capabilities of forensic DNA laboratories.

The grant will test the feasibility of new instruments, laboratory materials and software tools in the field of DNA-based forensics. The study’s aim is to vet tools using next generation sequencing technology and implement them into working crime laboratories.

According to the grant abstract, DNA samples are provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They will be sequenced using Illumina’s MiSeq platform or Life Technologies’ Ion PGM Sequencing System.

The laboratories hope to be able to get tools that use NGS into working crime laboratories to replace current less-informative forensic methods. The new technology will increase efficiency in forensic work and could also help generate investigative leads and identify individuals with only traces of genetic evidence.

Visit forensics.psu.edu/research for more information about the Department of Forensic Science at Pennsylvania State University.

NGS Moving Towards Forensics

To me the article “Early Adopters Say NGS-based Forensic Testing Could Lead to More Precise Identification” by GenomeWeb (http://bit.ly/WKKIPC) is a very good sign of the “maturation” of the rather young next generation technology. It may find its way into criminal police offices soon.

Currently, forensic profiling is based on STR analysis with capillary electrophoresis, or analysis of mitochondrial DNA with PCR and Sanger sequencing. But next gen sequencing opens up new possibilities. Researchers are now looking at moving both STR profiling and mitochondrial DNA analysis to next gen sequencing, but are also looking to develop SNP-based targeted sequencing panels for forensics, which would enable researchers to identify a person’s ancestry, hair color, or other defining characteristics based on their DNA.

So, what do you think: Will there still be classical DNA profiling or will NGS have taken over in the next decade?