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Successful nuclear DNA profiling of rootless hair shafts: a novel approach

NCJ Number
International Journal of Legal Medicine Volume: 132 Issue: 1 Dated: 2018 Pages: 107-115
Date Published
9 pages
This study used an enhanced DNA extraction methodology for hairs, in combination with a recently developed novel, nuclear DNA typing assay, InnoTyper 21, to improve the success rate for obtaining informative results from highly compromised, degraded, and trace forensic samples such as rootless hair shafts.

Historically, rootless hair shaft samples submitted to a forensic laboratory for DNA analysis are reserved for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis due to the presence of highly degraded as well as insufficient amounts of nuclear DNA. Although mtDNA has been very successful in obtaining results from rootless hair, this system has its limitations, namely, it is a lineage marker that cannot differentiate between maternally related genotypes. Given the high incidence of hairs as forensic evidence, there is a need for the use of a nuclear DNA test system capable of producing reliable results for hair shaft forensic evidence. The InnoTyper 21 kit is a small amplicon retrotransposon marker typing system compatible with currently used capillary electrophoresis platforms. This system contains 20 Alu element markers, ranging in size from 60 to 125 bp, making the assay highly sensitive for extremely degraded forensic samples and thus enabling recovery of nuclear DNA profiles from samples that would otherwise require mtDNA sequencing. A subset of samples was also tested with the GlobalFiler kit with less success due to the larger amplicon sizes in comparison with InnoTyper 21. Results were variable but very promising, with approximately 40 percent of the total number of hairs tested producing interpretable nuclear DNA profiles with InnoTyper 21. These results demonstrate the ability of the utilized methodologies to produce nuclear DNA results with high statistical power from rootless hair shafts. 20 references (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2018