San Diego, June 4, 2019—Verogen announced today that its DNA sequencing technology played a pivotal role in a recent court case in the Netherlands. This marks the first time that evidence generated with so-called “next generation” or massively parallel sequencing (MPS) has been used to secure a conviction in criminal courts of law.
The defendant in the case was initially acquitted of sexual assault charges due to inconclusive DNA results generated with older technology (capillary electrophoresis). The prosecutor was granted an appeal, however, that allowed re-testing of the remaining biological evidence with contemporary MPS methods. The additional testing, conducted by Dutch forensic experts at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) using the MiSeq® sequencing system, yielded “highly informative DNA profiles,” according to Professor Peter de Knijff at LUMC.
“Using the MiSeq we obtained a great deal more useful data, which proved extremely valuable as evidence in the case,” said Prof. de Knijff. “We could only have obtained these results using this sequencing platform.”
Prof. de Knijff is considered a pioneer in the forensic use of MPS, which has already been widely implemented in other biological disciplines. For a number of years, Prof. de Knijff and other scientific leaders have argued that MPS offers significant advantages compared to the older methods commonly used in forensic laboratories. This recent court verdict supports that perspective.
“This is an important milestone for acceptance of this technology as a powerful forensic tool,” said Brett Williams, Verogen CEO. “Verogen is extremely proud to partner with leading forensic institutes like LUMC to assist the criminal justice system in developing or refuting genetic linkages.”
Verogen, Inc. was established in 2017 to develop, sell and support forensic assays and software on Illumina sequencing platforms such as the MiSeq.
The adjudication of this case is yet another sign of the accelerating global adoption of this technology in forensic laboratories. For example, the United States FBI recently approved Verogen’s technology for use by forensic laboratories generating DNA profiles for upload to the U.S. National DNA Index System (NDIS). This follows acceptance of DNA results using Verogen’s MPS technology by the national DNA databases of France and the Netherlands.
Also, Cellmark Forensic Services and Verogen recently announced a collaboration to make next-gen forensic DNA testing available to law enforcement in the United Kingdom (UK).
With these developments, many more difficult criminal cases are expected to be solved and adjudicated in the near future.
About Forensic Laboratory for DNA Research (FLDO) at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)
Since 1994, the Forensic Laboratory for DNA Research (FLDO), has operated as an independent forensic DNA laboratory as part of the Department of Human Genetics at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). The FLDO performs forensic DNA research, and pioneers new technologies. In the past, it has played a major role in introducing Y-STRs and developing a sensitive method to extract DNA from (parts of) ammunition. Since 2008, the FLDO became involved in introducing MPS methods in order to genotype STR markers. In 2015, the FLDO was the first forensic laboratory to receive an ISO-17025 accreditation for this new technique. Since 2015, MPS-STR techniques have been used in many (mainly cold) cases.
About Verogen, Inc.
Verogen is committed to public safety and justice for all. Headquartered in the San Diego area, the company serves those who pursue the truth using genetic tools. Powered by gold standard Illumina sequencing technology and working in partnership with forensic laboratories, Verogen is advancing science to unlock the true potential of forensic genomics. For more information, visit www.verogen.com.
For Research, Forensic and Paternity Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.
Jonathan Tabak – Director, Market Development