Original Article

International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 309-319

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Whole genome amplification of degraded and nondegraded DNA for forensic purposes

  • Agnieszka MaciejewskaAffiliated withInstitute of Forensic Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk
  • , Joanna JakubowskaAffiliated withIntercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk
  • , Ryszard PawłowskiAffiliated withInstitute of Forensic Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk Email author 


Degraded DNA is often analyzed in forensic genetics laboratories. Reliable analysis of degraded DNA is of great importance, since its results impact the quality and reliability of expert testimonies. Recently, a number of whole genome amplification (WGA) methods have been proposed as preamplification tools. They work on the premise of being able to generate microgram quantities of DNA from as little as the quantity of DNA from a single cell. We chose, investigated, and compared seven WGA methods to evaluate their ability to “recover” degraded and nondegraded DNA: degenerate oligonucleotide-primed PCR, primer extension preamplification PCR, GenomePlex™ WGA commercial kit (Sigma), multiple displacement amplification, GenomiPhi™ Amplification kit (Amersham Biosciences), restriction and circularization-aided rolling circle amplification, and blunt-end ligation-mediated WGA. The efficiency and reliability of those methods were analyzed and compared using SGMPlus, YFiler, mtDNA, and Y-chromosome SNP typing. The best results for nondegraded DNA were obtained with GenomiPhi and PEP methods. In the case of degraded DNA (200 bp), the best results were obtained with GenomePlex which successfully amplified also severely degraded DNA (100 bp), thus enabling correct typing of mtDNA and Y-SNP loci. WGA may be very useful in analysis of low copy number DNA or degraded DNA in forensic genetics, especially after introduction of some improvements (sample pooling and replicate DNA typing).


Whole genome amplification Degraded DNA STR typing mtDNA typing Y-STR typing Forensic genetics