This project demonstrated the applications of probe capture enrichment next generation sequencing for whole mitochondrial genome and 426 nuclear SNPs for the analysis of limited and mock degraded samples, using the project's custom probe capture panels for massively parallel sequencing of the whole mtgenome and the 426 SNP markers.
The application of next generation sequencing (NGS) for the analysis of mitochondrial (mt) DNA, short tandem repeats (STRs), and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) has demonstrated great promise for challenging forensic specimens, such as degraded, limited, and mixed samples. Target enrichment using probe capture rather than PCR amplification offers advantages for analysis of degraded DNA since two intact PCR primer sites in the template DNA molecule are not required. Furthermore, NGS software programs can help remove PCR duplicates to determine initial template copy numbers of a shotgun library. Moreover, the same shotgun library prepared from a limited DNA source can be enriched for mtDNA as well as nuclear markers by hybrid capture with the relevant probe panels. The current project also applied the mtgenome capture panel in a mixed sample and analyzed using both phylogenetic and variant frequency based bioinformatics tools to resolve the minor and major contributors. Finally, the results obtained on individual telogen hairs demonstrate the potential of probe capture NGS analysis for both mtDNA and nuclear SNPs for challenging forensic specimens. (publisher abstract modified)