Volume 48, Issue 5 (September 2003)
The Development of Reduced Size STR Amplicons as Tools for Analysis of Degraded DNA
New multiplex PCR sets of commonly used short tandem repeat (STR) markers have been developed to produce PCR products that are reduced in size when compared to standard commercial STR kits. The reduction in size of these amplicons can facilitate the examination and analysis of degraded DNA evidence by improving amplification efficiency. This "miniSTR" approach will permit current forensic practitioners to use STR markers and instrumentation already present in their laboratories and to generate genotyping data that is directly comparable to reference samples and searchable through the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) databases. This paper discusses the development of these new primer sets and presents some initial results in the analysis of degraded and aged DNA samples. A method for removal of problematic fluorescent dye artifacts is also described. Comparison studies in over 100 samples have verified that these miniSTR primers can provide fully concordant results to commercial STR kits and can provide improved signal from degraded DNA specimens. These miniplex sets should prove valuable in the analysis of samples where allele dropout and reduced sensitivity of larger STR alleles occurs.