Volume 43, Issue 4 (July 1998)
TWGDAM Validation of the AmpFISTR™ Blue PCR Amplification Kit for Forensic Casework Analysis
Studies were performed as recommended by the Technical Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (TWGDAM) committee to validate the AmpFISTR Blue PCR Amplification Kit for forensic casework applications. The kit coamplifies the tetranucleotide short tandem repeat (STR) loci D3S1358, vWA, and FGA. The dye-labeled amplification products were electrophoresed and detected directly using the ABI PRISM™ 377 DNA Sequencer or the 310 Genetic Analyzer. CEPH family studies demonstrated Mendelian inheritance of these loci and probability of identity values from population studies were 1/4,830 (African-American), 1/5,479 (U.S. Caucasian), and 1/3,443 (U.S. West Coast Hispanic). In all studies examining different body tissues and fluids, the expected genotypes were observed. Studies to determine and test the PCR reagent components and thermal cycling parameters demonstrated specificity, sensitivity, and balance over a wide range of conditions. Reliable results were obtained from DNA quantities as low as 0.25 ng. A variety of environmental studies were performed, as forensic samples are often exposed to different environmental conditions and substances which may degrade DNA or inhibit the amplification process. Highly degraded samples demonstrated that FGA was the first locus to become undetectable, followed by vWA, and then D3S1358; this is the expected pattern according to locus size. In studies of PCR inhibition, the pattern in which the loci became undetectable was different; FGA was the first locus to become undetectable, followed by D3S1358, and then vWA. Single versus multiple locus amplifications revealed no benefit to single locus analysis, even in cases of degradation or inhibition. The occurrence of preferential amplification was very rare, particularly in noncompromised, unmixed samples. Artifact peaks were not observed in any instance. Mixture studies confirmed the ability to detect mixed DNA samples and included the characterization of stutter and peak height ratios; the limit of detection was 1:10 for 1 ng total genomic DNA and 1:30 for 5 ng. DNA extracted from nonprobative case evidence was successfully amplified and genotyped. All such studies indicate that the AmpFISTR Blue PCR Amplification Kit will reproducibly yield specific and sensitive results.