Extracting evidence from forensic DNA analyses: Future molecular biology directions

  • Budowle B
  • Van Daal A
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Abstract

Molecular biology tools have enhanced the capability of the forensic scientist to characterize biological evidence to the point where it is feasible to analyze minute samples and achieve high levels of individualization. Even with the forensic DNA field's maturity, there still are a number of areas where improvements can be made. These include: enabling the typing of samples of limited quantity and quality; using genetic information and novel markers to provide investigative leads; enhancing automation with robotics, different chemistries, and better software tools; employing alternate platforms for typing DNA samples; developing integrated microfluidic/microfabrication devices to process DNA samples with higher throughput, faster turnaround times, lower risk of contamination, reduced labor, and less consumption of evidentiary samples; and exploiting high-throughput sequencing, particularly for attribution in microbial forensics cases. Knowledge gaps and new directions have been identified where molecular biology will likely guide the field of forensics. This review aims to provide a roadmap to guide those interested in contributing to the further development of forensic genetics.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Automation
  • Databases
  • Forensic science
  • Low copy number
  • Microbial forensics
  • Microfluidics
  • Mini-STRs
  • Molecular biology
  • SNPs

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Authors

  • Bruce Budowle

  • Angela Van Daal

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