Research paper| Volume 40, P37-45, May 2019

Automation and developmental validation of the ForenSeq DNA Signature Preparation kit for high-throughput analysis in forensic laboratories

Published:January 31, 2019DOI:


      • Automation of library preparation using ForenSeq DNA Signature Preparation kit.
      • Assessment of concordance, repeatability, reproducibility and sensitivity.
      • Pooling volume adjustment to allow combined analysis of rich and poor DNA samples.
      • Final library pool quantification to ensure optimal sequencing quality metrics.


      Massively parallel sequencing (MPS) applications in forensic science highlight the advantages of this technique compared to capillary electrophoresis (CE). The multiplexing of a wide range of genetic markers and access to the full amplicon sequence, allowing the detection of isoalleles, make it a very promising tool which could be applied to the most challenging casework DNA samples. However, the complexity of the manual library preparation protocol, potential DNA contamination and sample tracking issues are the main reasons why forensic scientists still hesitate to implement MPS analytical workflows in their laboratory. Here, we present the automation of all library preparation steps for up to 96 samples using the Verogen’s ForenSeq DNA Signature Preparation kit. This automated protocol, developed on a Hamilton ID STARlet robotic platform, is designed to allow the combined sequencing of rich and poor DNA samples thanks to a final step which adjusts normalized library pooling volume to guarantee a uniform depth of coverage across all samples. Our study includes tests of concordance, repeatability, reproducibility and sensitivity (1000 pg, 700 pg, 500 pg, 250 pg, 100 pg and 50 pg). Sequencing results obtained with the automated protocol were found to be concordant with previous validation studies using the manual protocol in terms of depth of coverage and allele coverage ratio. The results of this study will assist forensic laboratories seeking to acquire a plug and play solution to optimize the processing and analysis of casework samples with MPS.


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