Thermo Fisher Scientific has unveiled a new next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis system to assist forensic scientists in collecting genetic profiles from challenging samples commonly associated with crime scenes, major disasters or missing persons' casework.
The system is designed for an effective extraction of information from degraded or limited DNA samples.
It addresses the loophole where 30-40% of the samples collected cannot be processed and tracked against the national database, leveraging on the existing technology, since the samples are either highly degraded, contain a mixture of DNA or lack sufficient genetic material.
The company announced the targeted sequencing solution, along with a set of five complementary panels, at the 2nd annual Human Identification Solutions (HIDS) conference in Barcelona, Spain.
The Precision ID NGS System consists of five distinct Precision ID panels to cater to the different needs of forensic casework.
It works with a seamless integration of the Ion Chef System for automated library and template preparation and the Ion S5 and Ion S5 XL systems, which offer fast run times with minimal hands-on time to set up the sequencer.
The technology features a two chip format enabling multiple panels to be streamlined in a single run, subsequently reducing time and the cost of sequencing experiments.
Innsbruck Medical University Institute of Legal Medicine associate professor and HIDS conference featured speaker Walther Parson said: "Sequencing the whole mitochondrial DNA genome for forensic purposes is an important analysis tool for identification of aged or severely degraded human remains, but the ability to do so has been near impossible.
"Next-generation sequencing now makes this possible, and enables forensic scientists to better define haplotype classifications."
The five targeted panels announced with the Precision ID NGS System include the Precision ID GlobalFiler NGS STR Panel; Precision ID mtDNA Whole Genome Panel; Precision ID mtDNA Control Region Panel; Precision ID Identity Panel and Precision ID Ancestry Panel.