This is an EXCITING day for us and (we hope) the forensic community! Intermountain Forensics has signed off the MiSeq FGx Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) instrument and ForenSeq DNA Signature Prep chemistry validation and is ready to process casework samples in our laboratory!
It was a long and arduous process, but, we feel confident all the hard work and collaboration with our Verogen partners has paid off as we finalize our validation and implementation of the this groundbreaking forensic technology. We feel strongly that this it the future of the Forensic DNA community as 1) it allows more information to be obtained in each run (STR, YSTR, XSTR, iSNPs (if we are confident in obtaining a single source of the DNA profile: Ancestry and Phenotypes (hair color, eye color etc.)) and 2) we believe this will assist massively in interpreting complex DNA mixtures as it provides sequencing data that allows for more ability to determine one contributor from another. More information on this chemistry that we call DNA Signature and DNA Signature Plus can be found here: https://verogen.com/products/forenseq-dna-signature-prep-kit/
We acknowledge this process took longer than planned and we appreciate all of your patience as we spent the time required to ensure the "best science" was obtained. We feel confident going forward with casework samples. To all of our clients who have been anxiously waiting for this day, we thank you. You can expect us to reach out to you in the coming days to discuss your case as a part of our post quantification consultation. We will ensure we are making the right choices to move forward intelligently based on the data we've already obtained in your case and ensure everyone is on the same page as to the testing plan. It's important to note that this is just one part of three that will go into this validation/implementation. We have approved the chemistry, but we still have pending validations for the data interpretation and statistical calculations of our NGS processing. We are hard at work finalizing those and with our partners, Verogen (www.verogen.com) and Nichevision (www.nichevision.com); we are confident we will implement a world class process that will capture the best there is to offer in this cutting edge forensic DNA science!
The completion of this validation will also allow us to implement other NGS chemistries (mtDNA (https://verogen.com/products/forenseq-mtdna-whole-genome-kit/) and *coming soon* forensic genetic genealogy with GEDMatch (https://info.verogen.com/forensic-genetic-genealogy-webinar). The NGS technology can provide a variety of different outputs that are not significantly different in processing. We are excited to unlock its potential to solve cold cases in a variety of different ways!
There are a few more hoops to jump through before we run samples:
-We have to finalize our training on this technology with a competency test that is currently "in process".
-Our Standard Operating Procedure for this needs to be finalized and controlled as an approved document/process
-And as discussed earlier, we will reach out to our clients to ensure both they and the laboratory understand the results obtained thus far (DNA extraction and quantification) and agree on the best testing plan for running samples through the NGS process.
We expect to complete those this week. Our goal is to run our first casework samples on Monday, November 23. We will keep you updated!
A big thank you to the Verogen team (too many people to list)! They have been our true partners in this endeavor helping us to achieve this goal through collaboration and team work. We appreciate the time and effort you have given us.
Thank you so much for your continued support and patience! Onward!