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Higher Capillary Electrophoresis Injection Settings as an Efficient Approach to Increase the Sensitivity of STR Typing

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Evidentiary traces may contain low quantities of DNA, and regularly incomplete short tandem repeat (STR) profiles are obtained. In this study, higher capillary electrophoresis injection settings were used to efficiently improve incomplete STR profiles generated from low-level DNA samples under standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) conditions. The method involves capillary electrophoresis with higher injection voltage and extended injection time. STR peak heights increased six-fold. Inherent to the analysis of low-level DNA samples, we observed stochastic amplification artifacts, mainly in the form of allele dropout and heterozygous peak imbalance. Increased stutter ratios and allele drop-in were rarely seen. Upon STR typing of 10:1 admixed samples, the profile of the major component did not become overloaded when using higher injection settings as was observed upon elevated cycling. Thereby an improved profile of the minor component was obtained. For low-level DNA casework samples, we adhere to independent replication of the PCR amplification and boosted capillary electrophoresis.
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Keywords: DNA typing; admixed samples; capillary electrophoresis; forensic science; low copy number; low-level DNA

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Netherlands Forensic Institute, Laan van Ypenburg 6, The Hague, 2497GB, The Netherlands.

Publication date: 01 May 2009

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