Spotting the haystacks with the right needles
Niederstätter,H.; Kralj,P.; Bauer,C.; Parson,W.
PCR is sometimes called the method that turns the proverbial needle in a haystack into a needle stack. Its specificity and sensitivity paved the way for the revolution witnessed in forensic individualization of biological material. STR markers are the “stars amongst the needles” and their multiplexed typing represents the gold standard in human identification, but the analysis of other genetic markers, such as mitochondrial or Y-chromosomal DNA, fills vital niches. The speed and simplicity of these analyses enable the typing of large sample numbers e.g. in population studies or DNA mass screenings. However, testing the entire sample set becomes highly uneconomical when the investigation aims only at a particular part of the sample. Under such framework conditions affordable and reliable pre-screening assays for the high throughput exclusion of e.g. innocents in a DNA dragnet or samples not attributable to the mitochondrial or Y-chromosomal haplogroup under study are desirable to avoid unnecessary STR genotyping or sequencing analyses.