This article lays out recent developments and applications of nanopore sequencing technologies and their potential application in forensic analysis, addressing current and potential techniques in mitochondrial DNA analysis, SNP and STR typing, and microbial identification, as well as recent developments in library preparation and data analysis tools.
Advancements in DNA sequencing technologies are occurring at a rapid rate. Various platforms have proven useful in all aspects of health and science research, from molecular diagnostics in cancer research to spore identification in bioterrorism. In the field of forensics, one particular single-molecule sequencing platform shows promise for becoming a viable solution for small to midsize forensic laboratories. Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) has developed a portable, nanopore-based sequencing instrument that has already been utilized for on-site identification of Zika and Ebola viruses, full genome sequencing, evaluation of DNA and RNA base modifications, and enrichment-free mitochondrial DNA analysis. The rapid development of this technology creates possibilities relevant to standard DNA sequencing, direct analysis of forensic samples, including blood, semen, and buccal swabs, mitochondrial DNA analysis, SNP and STR analysis, familial identification, and microbial identification for bioterrorism and geolocation. The small size of the platform, its low cost, and its requirement of only basic laboratory equipment makes this platform well suited for small laboratories wishing to begin developing expertise in sequence-based forensic analyses. Herein, the authors outline recent developments and applications of nanopore sequencing technologies and their potential application in forensic analysis. They address current and potential techniques in mitochondrial DNA analysis, SNP and STR typing, and microbial identification. Additionally, they discuss recent developments in library preparation and data analysis tools further streamlining the sequencing process that integrate workflows in laboratories or in remote field scenarios. (Publisher Abstract Provided)
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