Characterization of degradation and heterozygote balance by simulation of the forensic DNA analysis process
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational journal of legal medicine (Print). 2016, . 10.1007/s00414-016-1453-x
Simulation experiments were used to show the impact of varying extraction efficiency, aliquot proportion, and PCR efficiency on the heterozygote balance of a range of diploid and haploid cells. Reducing either parameters introduces variance. It is well-known that the variance in heterozygote balance increases as the amount of DNA is reduced. Surprisingly the distribution is in fact diamond shaped — the variance start to decrease at very low amounts of DNA. Simulations suggest that pristine diluted DNA is an acceptable approximation in validations to infer heterozygote balance. However, the difference in distribution of the variance between diploid and haploid cell types may, under some circumstances, need to be considered in statistical models. Finally, we exemplify how simulations can be used to predict the outcome of PCR for degraded samples. Visualizing the predicted DNA profile as an electropherogram can help to identify the best approach for sample processing.