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A review of bioinformatic methods for forensic DNA analyses

Abstract

Short tandem repeats, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and whole mitochondrial analyses are three classes of markers which will play an important role in the future of forensic DNA typing. The arrival of massively parallel sequencing platforms in forensic science reveals new information such as insights into the complexity and variability of the markers that were previously unseen, along with amounts of data too immense for analyses by manual means. Along with the sequencing chemistries employed, bioinformatic methods are required to process and interpret this new and extensive data. As more is learnt about the use of these new technologies for forensic applications, development and standardization of efficient, favourable tools for each stage of data processing is being carried out, and faster, more accurate methods that improve on the original approaches have been developed. As forensic laboratories search for the optimal pipeline of tools, sequencer manufacturers have incorporated pipelines into sequencer software to make analyses convenient. This review explores the current state of bioinformatic methods and tools used for the analyses of forensic markers sequenced on the massively parallel sequencing (MPS) platforms currently most widely used.

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