As traditional forensic genetic testing capabilities have improved over the years, forensic laboratories worldwide have seen an increase in challenging DNA samples, often too complex to allow for the extraction of usable data by traditional analytical approaches, for example, highly degraded, ancient DNA samples, or those exposed to harsh chemical and environmental substances. Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies, also known as Massively Parallel DNA Sequencing (MPS), however, are revolutionizing forensic genomics. 


The CFSRE is working in collaboration with vendor(s) to fundamentally understand NGS technology and develop recommendations for forensic casework applications. Current research projects involve evaluating the performance of a commercial sequencing kit, including evaluating stutter thresholds and concordance with currently used DNA technology.


The benefits of NGS technologies for forensic applications have been well documented over the past several years.

NGS can: 

  • Provide the same length-based information for STR target regions of interest for traditional DNA workflows while also providing additional sequence-based information 
  • Simultaneously provide information for multiple genetic marker types including autosomal STR locations, X and Y chromosome markers for sex determination and individualization, as well as SNP markers that can aid with individualization and that are linked to ancestral and phenotypic characteristics 
  • Develop more detailed genetic profiles from low quantity, low quality/degraded, and mixed biological evidence 
  • Generate investigative intelligence regarding phenotypic traits and biogeographic ancestry providing new leads for forensic investigations even when no match is obtained from a DNA database search


The CFSRE continues to present this work at national and international conferences as well as in peer-reviewed publications.