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Solve Cold Cases with DNA from Rootless Hair using Genetic Genealogy

By Kelly Harkins Kincaid
CEO, Astrea Forensics

February 4, 2021 — Santa Cruz, CA

Astrea Forensics has developed a breakthrough approach for DNA recovery and analysis from rootless hairs. This approach enables forensic genetic genealogy, yielding actionable leads.

[Editor’s note: Learn more about Astrea Forensics CEO Kelly Harkins Kincaid in our Q&A: Claret Bioscience & Astrea Forensics CEO Kelly Harkins Kincaid on what’s new since Coronavirus. (4/22/2020)]

Rootless hair shafts are often collected at crime scenes. However, the DNA in rootless hair fails in conventional forensic DNA assays.

Astrea Forensics has developed a breakthrough approach for DNA recovery and analysis from rootless hairs. This approach enables forensic genetic genealogy, yielding actionable leads.

Highlights

  • Astrea Forensics has adapted paleogenetic methods (technology for recovering and sequencing DNA from remains that are often tens of thousands of years old) for DNA based forensics. These methods are ideal for extracting and sequencing the ultrashort DNA fragments in rootless hair and other degraded samples
  • Rootless hair contains billions of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA fragments that are mostly less than 75 base pairs in length – too short for amplifying CODIS markers, including miniSTRs
  • With our approach, these billions of ultrashort DNA fragments can be recovered with nextgeneration sequencing (NGS) to reconstruct the full mitochondrial genome and generate nuclear genome data suitable for forensic genetic genealogy.
  • From a single hair, Astrea Forensics can often produce a genotype file ready for upload to genealogy databases like GEDmatch or FamilyTreeDNA.

In just a few short years, forensic genetic genealogy has proven to be a revolutionary approach to human identification. From the Golden State Killer to the victims of the Bear Brook murders, law enforcement agencies can access an entirely new path towards solving violent crime cases and unidentified remains. This powerful new genotyping approach requires tens to hundreds of nanograms of high-quality DNA. Until now.

Continue reading here: https://promega.foleon.com/theishireport/november-2020/solve-cold-cases-with-dna-from-rootless-hair-using-genetic-genealogy/

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