Increasing the reach of forensic genetics with massively parallel sequencing

Bruce Budowle, Sarah E. Schmedes, Frank R. Wendt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The field of forensic genetics has made great strides in the analysis of biological evidence related to criminal and civil matters. More so, the discipline has set a standard of performance and quality in the forensic sciences. The advent of massively parallel sequencing will allow the field to expand its capabilities substantially. This review describes the salient features of massively parallel sequencing and how it can impact forensic genetics. The features of this technology offer increased number and types of genetic markers that can be analyzed, higher throughput of samples, and the capability of targeting different organisms, all by one unifying methodology. While there are many applications, three are described where massively parallel sequencing will have immediate impact: molecular autopsy, microbial forensics and differentiation of monozygotic twins. The intent of this review is to expose the forensic science community to the potential enhancements that have or are soon to arrive and demonstrate the continued expansion the field of forensic genetics and its service in the investigation of legal matters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-349
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Forensic genetics
  • Massively parallel sequencing
  • Microbial forensics
  • Molecular autopsy
  • Monozygotic twins


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