Research Article| Volume 59, 102721, July 2022

Assessment of the ForenSeq mtDNA control region kit and comparison of orthogonal technologies


      • ForenSeq™ mtDNA Control Region Kit concordant with other mtDNA sequencing assays.
      • The robust chemistry can reliably recover profiles from challenging forensic samples.
      • Sequencing of mitochondrial whole genome assays can benefit forensic casework.


      The ForenSeq® mtDNA Control Region Kit, MiSeq FGx®, and Universal Analysis Software (UAS) were assessed to better define the performance and limitations of the system with forensically relevant samples to provide data for its transition into practice. A total of six MiSeq FGx sequencing runs of ForenSeq mtDNA Control Region kit, three runs of additional orthogonal sequencing chemistries, and Sanger sequencing results for 14 samples were used to test for concordance. Sensitivity, reproducibility, mixture detection studies, as well as studies to measure the performance of amplification and sequencing controls were performed. The use and reliability of the UAS for data analysis was also examined. With a variety of sample types and controls representing many mitochondrial haplotypes, the recently developed mtDNA Control Region Kit, with the MiSeq FGx and UAS, was found to be fit for purpose as reliable, reproducible, and robust. Sensitivity down to 1 pg of input genomic DNA was demonstrated, which allows the system to offer low limits of detection for better interrogation of potential heteroplasmy in samples. Concerns for implementing next generation sequencing (NGS) for mtDNA in laboratories were addressed in this research, including initial template quantification and confirmation of haplotypes generated by UAS software regarding length-based polymorphisms. To improve performance with forensic samples, laboratories could implement mitochondrial-specific qPCR assays for quantification and perform the optional manual normalization protocol. Additional optimization on sample multiplexing can provide methods that either increase sensitivity or cost efficiency of the assay.


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