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Forensic Sci Int. 2007 Jul 20;170(1):35-45. Epub 2006 Oct 30.

Developmental validation of a multiplex qPCR assay for assessing the quantity and quality of nuclear DNA in forensic samples.

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California Department of Justice Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory, 1001 W, Cutting Blvd., Suite 110, Richmond, CA 94804, USA.


Forensic scientists are constantly searching for better, faster, and less expensive ways to increase the first-pass success rate of forensic sample analysis. Technological advances continue to increase the sensitivity of analysis methods to enable genotyping of samples containing minimal amounts of DNA, yet few tools are available that can simultaneously alert the analyst to both the presence of inhibition and level of degradation in samples prior to genotyping to allow analysts the opportunity to make appropriate modifications to their protocols and, consequently, to use less sample. Our laboratory developed a multiplex quantitative PCR assay that amplifies two human nuclear DNA target sequences of different length to assess DNA degradation and a third amplification target, a synthetic oligonucleotide internal PCR control (IPC), to allow for the assessment of PCR inhibition. We chose the two nuclear targets to provide quantity and fragment-length information relevant to the STR amplification targets commonly used for forensic genotyping. The long target (nuTH01, 170-190 bp) spans the TH01 STR locus and uses a FAM-labeled TaqMan probe for detection. The short nuclear target (nuCSF, 67 bp) is directed at the upstream flanking region of the CSF1PO STR locus and is detected using a VIC-labeled TaqManMGB probe. The IPC target sequence is detected using a NED-labeled TaqManMGB probe. The assay was validated on the Applied Biosystems 7500 Real-Time PCR system, which is optimized for NED detection. We report the results of a developmental validation in which the assay was rigorously tested, in accordance with the current SWGDAM guidelines, for precision, sensitivity, accuracy, reproducibility, species specificity, and stability.

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