This study assessed the use of a quantifiler(TM) trio-based high resolution melt (HRM) screening assay for the accurate prediction of single source versus mixed biological samples.
An integrated Quantiplex®- high resolution melt (HRM) assay was shown to be effective in distinguishing between single source and mixture DNA samples; however, integration of the HRM assay into a more commonly used chemistry would be beneficial to the practitioner community. Thus, the assay was redesigned as an integrated Quantifiler™ Trio-HRM assay, which included the identification of a new DNA-binding dye, an increased reaction volume, and the establishment of new data analysis and standard curve metrics for all targets. This redesigned assay produced quantification values and qualitative values that were comparable to those produced when the same samples were tested using the standard Quantifiler™ Trio chemistry and settings. Further, STR profiles generated with quantification values produced from the integrated Quantifiler™ Trio-HRM assay and standard Quantifiler™ Trio chemistry were complete and fully concordant. Most importantly, the integrated Quantifiler™ Trio-HRM assay was able to accurately predict whether a sample was single source or a mixture 79.2% of the time, demonstrating the potential of this approach. With the incorporation of an expanded training set for prediction modeling, and completion of critical developmental validation studies, this assay could prove useful to the forensic DNA practitioner community. At present, the forensic DNA workflow is not capable of providing information about the contributor status (single source vs. multiple contributors) of evidentiary samples prior to end-point analysis. This exacerbates the challenges inherent to mixtures and low-template DNA samples. If additional sample information could be provided earlier in the workflow, protocols could be implemented to mitigate these challenges. (Published Abstract Provided)