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A New Way to Analyze MiSeq Forensic Data

Linda Seaton
| Nov 22, 2013

NGS is the future of forensic genomics While next-generation sequencing (NGS) has been used since 2005 to enhance biological research, it’s just beginning to be employed in the forensic genomics laboratory. Forward-looking forensics labs around the world recognize the value that NGS could bring to forensic analysis. First and foremost is the technology’s ability to provide precise digital read counts that enhance the ability to more clearly identify each contributor in mixed DNA samples.

The MiSeq system offers even more, including the ability to perform multiple tests on one system, such as autosomal short tandem repeat (STR), mitochondrial DNA, Y-STR, and SNP analyses. With the day fast approaching when NGS and particularly the MiSeq system become standard tools in forensic laboratories, scientists have begun developing software tools to analyze and visualize NGS forensic results.

Recently, researchers at the University of Ghent led by Dr. Dieter Deforce developed an open-source software-based bioinformatic framework to streamline forensic genomics analyses on the MiSeq system. The team created mixtures of four and five source DNA samples, sequenced them on the MiSeq system, and analyzed them using their MyFLq framework. They were able to detect all of the different contributors in the MiSeq data set. Future studies will be conducted to further test the MiSeq-based workflow, including determining the lower detection limit for minor alleles in a mixture.