Capillary electrophoresis (CE) is a versatile technology with tremendous potential applications in forensic science. A refinement of the traditional slab-gel, separation occurs in a liquid polymer contained within a capillary. The capillary electrophoresis unit is computer-driven, semi-automating the loading and analysis of samples.
As with any new technology, a full performance assessment is required before it may be implemented with confidence. This paper focuses on validation of CE technology for analysis of a portion of the X-Y homologous amelogenin gene used in gender determination. Typical Y/X ratios of peak heights for male samples were determined. Instrument linearity, sample resolution and reproducibility were examined. Samples subjected to contamination, extreme environmental conditions or extracted from a variety of substrates were also tested by CE. All samples typed correctly. Genetic material from a number of common non-primate animals was amplified with amelogenin primers. Some species yielded no product. Products derived from the animal samples that did amplify produced peaks on CE analysis readily distinguishable from those of human origin.
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