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Comparative Tolerance of Two Massively Parallel Sequencing Systems to Common PCR Inhibitors

NCJ Number
International Journal of Legal Medicine Volume: 132 Issue: 4 Dated: 2018 Pages: 983-995
Kyleen Elwick; Xianapei Zeng; Jonathan King; Bruce Budowle; Sheree Hughes-Stamm
Date Published
13 pages
This study compared the baseline tolerance of the two sequencing chemistries and platforms to common inhibitors encountered in human remains recovered from missing person cases.

Human remains can be severely affected by the environment, and the DNA may be damaged, degraded, and/or inhibited. In the current study, a DNA sample (at 1 ng DNA target input in triplicate) was spiked with five concentrations of five inhibitors (humic acid, melanin, hematin, collagen, and calcium) and sequenced with both the HID-Ion AmpliSeq Library Kit and ID panel on the Ion PGM System and the ForenSeq DNA Signature Prep Kit on the MiSeq FGx. The two chemistries generally were comparable but not always susceptible to the same inhibitors or at the same capacity. The HID-Ion AmpliSeq Library Kit and ID panel and the ForenSeq DNA Signature Prep Kit both were susceptible to humic acid, melanin, and collagen; however, the ForenSeq kit showed greater inhibition to melanin and collagen than the AmpliSeq kit. In contrast, the ForenSeq kit was resistant to the effects of hematin and calcium, whereas the AmpliSeq kit was highly inhibited by hematin. Short tandem repeats (STRs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showed the same trend among inhibitors when using the ForenSeq kit. Generally, locus read depth, heterozygote allele balance, and the numbers of alleles typed were inversely correlated with increasing inhibitor concentration. The larger STR loci were affected more so by the presence of inhibitors compared to smaller STR amplicons and SNP loci. Additionally, it does not appear that sequence noise is affected by the inhibitors. The noise percentage, however, does increase as the inhibitor concentration increases, due to the decrease in locus read depth and not likely because of chemistry effects. 44 references (publisher abstract modified)