In forensic casework, Y chromosome short tandem repeat markers (Y-STRs) are often used to identify a male donor DNA profile in the presence of excess quantities of female DNA, such as is found in many sexual assault investigations. Commercially available Y-STR multiplexes incorporating 12-17 loci are currently used in forensic casework (Promega's PowerPlex Y and Applied Biosystems' AmpFlSTR Yfiler). Despite the robustness of these commercial multiplex Y-STR systems and the ability to discriminate two male individuals in most cases, the coincidence match probabilities between unrelated males are modest compared with the standard set of autosomal STR markers. Hence there is still a need to develop new multiplex systems to supplement these for those cases where additional discriminatory power is desired or where there is a coincidental Y-STR match between potential male participants. Over 400 Y-STR loci have been identified on the Y chromosome. While these have the potential to increase the discrimination potential afforded by the commercially available kits, many have not been well characterized. In the present work, 91 loci were tested for their relative ability to increase the discrimination potential of the commonly used 'core' Y-STR loci. The result of this extensive evaluation was the development of an ultra high discrimination (UHD) multiplex DNA typing system that allows for the robust co-amplification of 14 non-core Y-STR loci. Population studies with a mixed African American and American Caucasian sample set (n = 572) indicated that the overall discriminatory potential of the UHD multiplex was superior to all commercial kits tested. The combined use of the UHD multiplex and the Applied Biosystems' AmpFlSTR Yfiler kit resulted in 100% discrimination of all individuals within the sample set, which presages its potential to maximally augment currently available forensic casework markers. It could also find applications in human evolutionary genetics and genetic genealogy.
Hanson, E. K., & Ballantyne, J. (2007). An ultra-high discrimination Y chromosome short tandem repeat multiplex DNA typing system. PLoS ONE, 2(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0000688