An exploratory view into allelic drop-out of sequenced autosomal STRs

Megan M. Foley, Gerwald Koehler, Jun Fu, Robert Allen, Jarrad R. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As massively parallel sequencing is implemented in forensic genetics, an understanding of sequence data must accompany these advancements, that is, accurate modeling of data for proper statistical analysis. Allelic drop-out, a common stochastic effect seen in genetic data, is often modeled in statistical analysis of STR results. This proof-of-concept study sequenced several serial dilutions of a standard sample ranging from 4 ng to 7.82 pg to evaluate allelic drop-out trends on a select panel of autosomal STRs using the ForenSeq™ DNA Signature Prep Kit, Primer Set A on the Illumina MiSeq FGx. Parameters assessed included locus, profile, and run specific information. A majority of the allelic drop-out occurred in DNA concentrations less than 31.25 pg. Statistical results indicated a need for locus-specific modeling based on STR descriptors, like simple versus compound repeat patterns. No correlation was seen between average read count of scored alleles and allelic drop-out at a locus. A statistical correlation was observed between the amount of allelic drop-out and the starting amount of DNA in a sample, average read count of a sample, and total read count generated on a flow cell. This study supports using common allelic drop-out factors used in fragment length analysis on sequenced STRs while including additional locus, sample, and run specific information. Results demonstrate multiple factors that can be considered when developing probability of allelic drop-out models for sequenced autosomal STRs including locus-specific analysis, total read count of a profile, and total read count sequenced on a flow cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-835
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2024


  • DNA analysis
  • STR sequencing
  • allelic drop-out
  • forensic genetics
  • massively parallel sequencing
  • next generation sequencing
  • probabilistic genotyping


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