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Forensic DNA Applications of Massively Parallel / Next Generation Sequencing

NCJ Number
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Date Published
11 pages

This report discusses the rationale for and features of the STR Sequencing Project (STRSeq).


Since national and international surveys of forensic laboratories have indicated the need and support for the development of STR sequence nomenclature resources, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) obtained funding through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and worked with the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to develop an STR nomenclature resource. This work leveraged NIST’s history of supporting the forensic STR typing community and NCBI’s extensive infrastructure for accepting, maintaining, and serving DNA sequence data. STRSeq was initiated to facilitate the description of sequence-based alleles at the STRs targeted in human identification assays. This resource now consists of a curated catalog of sequence diversity at forensic STR loci, along with the key elements of nomenclature conforming to current guidelines and serves as a foundation during these years of transition, as well as a stable resource for the future. The initial data used to populate STRSeq are the aggregate alleles observed in targeted sequencing studies of single-source samples across four laboratories: NIST, Kings College London (KCL), University of North Texas Health Sciences Center (UNT), and University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). This produced a total of 4,673 individuals. From 2017 to the present (April 2022), NIST scientists have worked with staff scientists at NCBI and leveraged existing infrastructure to develop standardized STR DNA sequence records, which are now available to the forensic community. The basic framework can be accessed at https://www.ncbi.nim.gov/bioproject/380127. Using published population data, just over 2,100 records have been created, and this catalog serves as a backbone for software development and as a future resource to facilitate interlaboratory communication. Overall, the transition from the current capillary electrophoresis typing technology to STR sequencing results in a more discriminating marker system. This system is expected to improve public safety by providing more powerful statistics and greater ability to differentiate individual contributors to DNA mixtures. 7 figures and a list of references

Date Published: January 1, 2022