Volume 44, Issue 1 (January 1999)
Analysis and Interpretation of Short Tandem Repeat Microvariants and Three-Banded Allele Patterns Using Multiple Allele Detection Systems
The Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office (PBSO) Crime Laboratory and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS) have validated and implemented analysis of short tandem repeat (STR) sequences on casework using silver staining kit and SYBR® Green I detection systems and are presently validating fluorescently tagged STR alleles using the Hitachi FMBIO 100 instrument. Concurrently, the Broward County Sheriff's Office (BSO) Crime Laboratory is validating the ABI Prism310 Genetic Analyzer capillary electrophoresis STR detection system (ABI CE310) from Perkin Elmer Applied BioSystems. During the course of analyzing over 10,000 individuals for the STR loci CSF1PO, TPOX and THO1(CTT) using silver staining for allele detection, 42 samples demonstrated alleles that were “off ladder,” contained three-banded patterns at a single locus, or exhibited an apparent THO1 “9.3,10” allele pattern. PBSO, ADFS and BSO Crime Laboratories have collaborated on the verification of the allele patterns observed in these 42 samples using the following allele detection systems: (1) manual silver staining, (2) SYBR® Green I staining, and/or (3) fluorescently tagged amplified products separated by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis or capillary electrophoresis followed by laser detection. Regardless of the CTT allele detection system utilized, concordant results were obtained for 41 of the 42 samples. The only exception was a sample in which a wide band within the THO1 locus was identified as a THO1 “9.3, 10” genotype by silver staining kit and SYBR® Green I staining but was verified to be a THO1 “9.3” homozygote by all other allele detection systems. Manual allele detection could readily identify microvariants, as a visual assessment of stained gels clearly shows that alleles do not migrate coincident with well-characterized allele size standards. As would be predicted, however, the manual detection systems did not provide adequate resolution to approximate the basepair size for off-ladder variants. All fluorescent software program systems were consistent in designating alleles “not in range” or “off ladder,” thereby indicating true microvariants. All single-locus three-banded patterns were detected using all of the STR multiplex systems. In addition, individual locus-specific primers verified multiplexed amplified products were specific for the locus in question.