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Int J Legal Med. 1996;109(4):195-204.

The validation of a 7-locus multiplex STR test for use in forensic casework. (II), Artefacts, casework studies and success rates.

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Forensic Science Service, Birmingham, UK.


PCR-based DNA typing of biological evidence is now widely used in forensic analyses due to the obvious advantages of enhanced sensitivity, the ability to distinguish discrete alleles and efficacy with degraded samples. A multiplex short tandem repeat (STR) system has been previously developed which successfully co-amplifies six STR loci HUMTH01, D21S11, D18S51, D8S1179, HUMVWF31/A and HUMFIBRA (FGA) in conjunction with the X-Y homologous gene Amelogenin. This is known as the second generation multiplex system (SGM). Detection of the PCR products is undertaken on ABD 373A or 377 automated sequencers using denaturing polyacrylamide gels coupled with fluorescent-based technology. We have evaluated this system for routine forensic use and demonstrated that the technique is robust and reproducible under conditions consistent with those encountered in a forensic environment. A total of 132 stains from simulated and actual casework were analysed, together with relevant control areas and reference samples. The success rate was high with 76% of stains giving full profiles; we were also able to successfully detect and interpret mixtures. No mistyping was observed. A detailed examination of each of these profiles has assisted in the development of guidelines for casework interpretation. Although artefacts, stutter peaks and undenatured DNA were occasionally observed, these did not interfere with the accuracy of interpretation. In addition 38 samples, previously examined using the quadruplex system, were analysed with the SGM to enable a direct comparison to be made between the systems. The performance of the system with poor quality samples demonstrated its use as a rapid and powerful technique for individual identification.

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