Recently, there has been much debate about what kinds of genetic markers should be implemented as new core loci that constitute national DNA databases. The choices lie between conventional STRs, ranging in size from 100 to 450 bp; mini-STRs, with amplicon sizes less than 200 bp; and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). There is general agreement by the European DNA Profiling Group (EDNAP) and the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) that the reason to implement new markers is to increase the chance of amplifying highly degraded DNA rather than to increase the discriminating power of the current techniques. A collaborative study between nine European and US laboratories was organised under the auspices of EDNAP. Each laboratory was supplied with a SNP multiplex kit (Foren-SNPs) provided by the Forensic Science Service®, two mini-STR kits provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and a set of degraded DNA stains (blood and saliva). Laboratories tested all three multiplex kits, along with their own existing DNA profiling technique, on the same sets of degraded samples. Results were collated and analysed and, in general, mini-STR systems were shown to be the most effective. Accordingly, the EDNAP and ENFSI working groups have recommended that existing STR loci are reengineered to provide smaller amplicons, and the adoption of three new European core loci has been agreed.
- Degraded DNA
- Short tandem repeats
- Single nucleotide polymorphisms