Volume 48, Issue 6 (November 2003)
Rapid Quantification and Sex Determination of Forensic Evidence Materials
DNA quantification of forensic evidence is very valuable for an optimal use of the available biological material. Moreover, sex determination is of great importance as additional information in criminal investigations as well as in identification of missing persons, no suspect cases, and ancient DNA studies. While routine forensic DNA analysis based on short tandem repeat markers includes a marker for sex determination, analysis of samples containing scarce amounts of DNA is often based on mitochondrial DNA, and sex determination is not performed. In order to allow quantification and simultaneous sex determination on minute amounts of DNA, an assay based on real-time PCR analysis of a marker within the human amelogenin gene has been developed. The sex determination is based on melting curve analysis, while an externally standardized kinetic analysis allows quantification of the nuclear DNA copy number in the sample. This real-time DNA quantification assay has proven to be highly sensitive, enabling quantification of single DNA copies. Although certain limitations were apparent, the system is a rapid, cost-effective, and flexible assay for analysis of forensic casework samples.