Next Generation Sequencing for DNA Analysis: Implementation Strategies

November 23, 2021 — Earlier this fall, the National Institute of Justice's Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group released an implementation strategy for Next Generation Sequencing for DNA Analysis. The 29-page document includes the advantages of NGS, a cost-benefit analysis, considerations of a validation plan, and other resources.

According to the NIJ:

Modern sequencing technology offers several enhancements over traditional DNA analysis methods. The massive sequence output of next generation sequencing (NGS) instruments may be divided among many samples for routine testing (i.e., databasing) or focused to analyze a small number of challenging evidence samples for comprehensively analyzing many marker types.

Two platforms have kits that have received acceptance for use in National DNA Index System (NDIS) submissions and thus dominate the forensic DNA landscape: the Ion Torrent S5 (Thermo Fisher Scientific) and the MiSeq FGx (Verogen, Inc.). Increased complexity, reagent costs, and labor input may limit NGS use to challenging cases where augmentation of current STR typing methods is needed.

Contemporary DNA sequencing technology, referred to as NGS or massively parallel sequencing, encompasses both an approach and a host of instruments that enable simultaneous analysis of large amounts of genetic information. Although a large NGS instrument can obtain enough sequence to cover several human genomes, smaller bench-top models have capacity to measure hundreds to thousands of informative sites for several samples (usually 10 to 96 simultaneously). NGS-based characterization of sequence information from multiple marker types increases discrimination power from a single analysis and provides new capabilities to augment current DNA methodology and to provide investigative intelligence.

This paper provides guidance for implementing and using DNA sequencing technology, and the focus will remain on human-specific DNA analysis applications. Considerations for NGS implementation and use as a complementary method with improved performance over conventional CE-based DNA analysis will be discussed.

You can download the paper here.

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