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Development of a Novel Five Dye Insertion/Deletion (INDEL) Panel for Ancestry Determination

NCJ Number
International Journal of Legal Medicine Volume: Online Dated: 2024
Date Published
February 2024

In this paper, researchers discuss a new five dye insertion/deletion (INDEL) panel for ancestry determination.


This study demonstrated the robustness and effectiveness of a 25 loci INDEL system for ancestry inference of four ancestries commonly found in the United States. The use of genetic markers, specifically Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), has been a valuable tool for identifying persons of interest. However, the ability to analyze additional markers including Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and Insertion/Deletion (INDELs) polymorphisms allows laboratories to explore other investigative leads. INDELs were chosen in this study because large panels can be differentiated by size, allowing them to be genotyped by capillary electrophoresis. Moreover, these markers do not produce stutter and are smaller in size than STRs, facilitating the recovery of genetic information from degraded samples. The INDEL Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) in this study were selected from the 1000 Genomes Project based on a fixation index (FST) greater than 0.50, high allele frequency divergence, and genetic distance. A total of 25 INDEL-AIMs were optimized and validated according to SWGDAM guidelines in a five-dye multiplex. To validate the panel, genotyping was performed on 155 unrelated individuals from four ancestral groups (Caucasian, African, Hispanic, and East Asian). Bayesian clustering and principal component analysis (PCA) were performed revealing clear separation among three groups, with some observed overlap within the Hispanic group. Additionally, the PCA results were compared against a training set of 793 samples from the 1000 Genomes Project, demonstrating consistent results. Validation studies showed the assay to be reproducible, tolerant to common inhibitors, robust with challenging casework type samples, and sensitive down to 125 pg. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: February 1, 2024