Analysis of length polymorphisms at STR loci in the human genome has become a standard approach for comparative genotyping in many areas including disease research and diagnostics, parentage assessment, investigations of human diversity, and forensic science. The simultaneous analysis of multiple STR loci through multiplex PCR and multicolor fluorescence detection offers sample conservation, high throughput, and automated genetic analysis. Careful design and optimization of tetranucleotide STR multiplexes has led to reliable, standardized systems that powerfully differentiate and distinguish individual human DNA profiles. The development of these multiplex systems involved a rigorous experimental strategy that included careful selection of PCR primer sequences (for yield, specificity, and multiplex compatability), along with optimization of PCR component concentrations, thermal cycling parameters, and fluorescence detection conditions. This developmental approach rendered well-characterized DNA typing systems that are high performing (sensitive, specific, and balanced), optimized to universal parameters (same reaction conditions), resilient to fluctuations in reaction conditions, and simple to implement and use routinely.
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