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Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Feasibility and Guidance Study for Forensic DNA

NCJ Number
Date Published
Battelle Memorial Institute
Findings and methodology are presented for a study that assessed next-generation-sequencing (NGS) applications for use in forensic DNA laboratories across the United States.
The study included participation from key forensic DNA laboratories that represented city, county, state, federal, academic, and research institutions. Primary objectives were collaboration, education, and validation regarding NGS technology. The overall result of the research conducted is an objective assessment of the NGS technology for forensic applications to include strengths, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for improvement. The study conducted in this project consisted of two phases. The first phase was initiated by on-going discussions with the partner laboratories in assessing the commercially available NGS products for use within this study. Performance testing in this phase used DNA samples provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Sequencing was performed across Illumin’s MiSeq Fgx, MiSeq RUO, and the ThermoFisher Scientific ionPGM platforms. The resulting data were analyzed with biometrics software. The second phase consisted of the optimization of standard operating procedures; external studies; and final report submission, dissemination, and education of the forensic community. The testing results in this second phase demonstrated that NGS-based genotyping across different laboratories is consistent, accurate, and reproductive. In addition, discussions with partner laboratories indicated a consensus on key forensic applications for which NGS would provide near-term operational gains, as well as those for which near-term application appears more limited. This report concludes that a commitment to using all the MPS (massive parallel sequencing) data is warranted, since detailed analysis has shown patterns in the data that are consistent with current models related to the enzymatic amplification process of repeat sequence targets. 3 figures and 1 table
Date Created: January 15, 2019