A newly-commercialised Short Tandem Repeats (STRs) multiplex amplification kit, the PowerPlex1Fusion System (Promega) was evaluated on forensic casework samples and paternity testing. This kit is a24-loci multiplex including Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and European Standard Set (ESS) coreloci, plus D2S1338, D19S433, Penta E, Penta D markers, Amelogenin for gender discrimination andDYS391 locus to identify null Y allele at Amelogenin locus.Difficult forensic casework samples included teeth, fingernails, mummified skin, formalin fixedparaffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues, buried scheletal muscle and DNA samples collected from variousobjects (sunglasses, clock, glass, sex toys). Samples were extracted with the QIAamp DNA Investigator kit(Qiagen) and subjected to 28–32 cycles of PCR amplification. Fragments were analyzed on ABI Prism3130 Genetic Analyzer with software GeneMapper ID-X v1.2 (Applied Biosystems).On average, more than 13 loci could be reliably typed in all forensic casework samples. Furthermorecomplete drop-out of loci greater than 250–300 bp, including DYS391, was observed in highly degradedsamples. However, overall sensitivity of the system in typing difficult samples with low amounts oftemplate DNA and in presence of inhibitors was high. Although further validation studies are required,this STR kit represents a valid tool for the analysis of challenging forensic samples.
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