The resulting PCR products are then separated and detected in order to characterize the STR region being examined. The separation methods used today include slab gel and capillary electrophoresis (CE) (Chapter 12). Fluorescence detection methods have greatly aided the sensitivity and ease of measuring PCR-amplified STR alleles (Chapter 13). The primary instrument platform used in the United States for fluorescence detection of STR alleles is currently the ABI Prism 310 Genetic Analyzer (Chapter 14). After detecting the STR alleles, the number of repeats in a DNA sequence is determined, a process known as sample genotyping (Chapter 15).
The specific methods used for DNA typing are validated by individual laboratories to ensure that reliable results are obtained (Chapter 16) and before new technologies (see Chapter 17) are implemented. DNA databases, such as the one described earlier in this chapter to match Montaret Davis to his crime scene, are valuable tools and will continue to play an important role in law enforcement efforts (Chapter 18).
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