The recent introduction of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-massively parallel sequencing (MPS) technologies in forensics has changed the approach to allelic short tandem repeat (STR) typing because sequencing cloned PCR fragments enables alleles with identical molecular weights to be distinguished based on their nucleotide sequences. Therefore, because PCR fidelity mainly depends on template integrity, new technical issues could arise in the interpretation of the results obtained from the degraded samples. In this work, a set of DNA samples degraded in vitro was used to investigate whether PCR-MPS could generate "isometric drop-ins" (IDIs; i.e., molecular products having the same length as the original allele but with a different nucleotide sequence within the repeated units). The Precision ID GlobalFiler NGS STR panel kit was used to analyze 0.5 and 1 ng of mock samples in duplicate tests (for a total of 16 PCR-MPS analyses). As expected, several well-known PCR artifacts (such as allelic dropout, stutters above the threshold) were scored; 95 IDIs with an average occurrence of 5.9 IDIs per test (min: 1, max: 11) were scored as well. In total, IDIs represented one of the most frequent artifacts. The coverage of these IDIs reached up to 981 reads (median: 239 reads), and the ratios with the coverage of the original allele ranged from 0.069 to 7.285 (median: 0.221). In addition, approximately 5.2% of the IDIs showed coverage higher than that of the original allele. Molecular analysis of these artifacts showed that they were generated in 96.8% of cases through a single nucleotide change event, with the C > T transition being the most frequent (85.7%). Thus, in a forensic evaluation of evidence, IDIs may represent an actual issue, particularly when DNA mixtures need to be interpreted because they could mislead the operator regarding the number of contributors. Overall, the molecular features of the IDIs described in this work, as well as the performance of duplicate tests, may be useful tools for managing this new class of artifacts otherwise not detected by capillary electrophoresis technology.

Isometric artifacts from polymerase chain reaction-massively parallel sequencing analysis of short tandem repeat loci: An emerging issue from a new technology?

Previderè, Carlo;
2022-01-01

Abstract

The recent introduction of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-massively parallel sequencing (MPS) technologies in forensics has changed the approach to allelic short tandem repeat (STR) typing because sequencing cloned PCR fragments enables alleles with identical molecular weights to be distinguished based on their nucleotide sequences. Therefore, because PCR fidelity mainly depends on template integrity, new technical issues could arise in the interpretation of the results obtained from the degraded samples. In this work, a set of DNA samples degraded in vitro was used to investigate whether PCR-MPS could generate "isometric drop-ins" (IDIs; i.e., molecular products having the same length as the original allele but with a different nucleotide sequence within the repeated units). The Precision ID GlobalFiler NGS STR panel kit was used to analyze 0.5 and 1 ng of mock samples in duplicate tests (for a total of 16 PCR-MPS analyses). As expected, several well-known PCR artifacts (such as allelic dropout, stutters above the threshold) were scored; 95 IDIs with an average occurrence of 5.9 IDIs per test (min: 1, max: 11) were scored as well. In total, IDIs represented one of the most frequent artifacts. The coverage of these IDIs reached up to 981 reads (median: 239 reads), and the ratios with the coverage of the original allele ranged from 0.069 to 7.285 (median: 0.221). In addition, approximately 5.2% of the IDIs showed coverage higher than that of the original allele. Molecular analysis of these artifacts showed that they were generated in 96.8% of cases through a single nucleotide change event, with the C > T transition being the most frequent (85.7%). Thus, in a forensic evaluation of evidence, IDIs may represent an actual issue, particularly when DNA mixtures need to be interpreted because they could mislead the operator regarding the number of contributors. Overall, the molecular features of the IDIs described in this work, as well as the performance of duplicate tests, may be useful tools for managing this new class of artifacts otherwise not detected by capillary electrophoresis technology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1477648
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