U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Landscape Study of Next Generation Sequencing Technologies for Forensic Applications

NCJ Number
Mikalaa Martin; Erin Estes; Shannon Krauss; Cody Sorrell; Rebecca Shute; Lyndsie Ferrara; Tracey Johnson; Patricia Melton
Date Published
April 2023
37 pages

This document lays out, for Forensic Science Service Providers, the following information: background on the application of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology to forensic science casework and research initiatives; a product landscape of commercially available NGS technologies; user profiles from forensic practitioners and forensic researchers using NGS technologies; and benefits, limitations, and implementation considerations for currently available NGS products tailored to forensic science applications.


This publication provides Forensic Science Service Provider (FSSP) directors, laboratory personnel, decision-makers, and end-users with information about the implementation of forensic science-specific, commercially available products for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), and lessons learned from publicly funded and private FSSPs that are early adopters of the technology. A two-step process was used to conduct the landscape study described in this document: first, researching primary and secondary sources, including industry literature, to obtain NGS-related product capabilities and implementation considerations; and second, discussion of NGS technology, products, and applications with subject matter experts, including FSSP practitioners, decision-makers, researchers, educators, and vendor representatives. Key takeaways from the landscape study include: NGS technology capabilities may save cost, labor and time, and can provide comprehensive information from a DNA sample and improve analysis of highly degraded or compromised samples; forensic applications of NGS include human identification using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA; few FSSPs have implemented NGS and adoption is currently limited by high-resource investments such as funding, staffing, training, and laboratory space; FSSPs are primarily implementing two instruments, the Ion GneStudio™ System and the MiSeq FGx©, and both vendors sell library preparation kits, software, and automation solutions; researchers and practitioners working with developers help to drive improved FSSP understanding, use, and implementation of NGS; implementing NGS requires investments in sequencing systems, library preparation kits, consumables, set-up validation, training, and ongoing maintenance, and may be more practical for FSSPs with higher case volumes and processing requests; and forensic NGS vendors provide resources for systems validation and training.