New Perspectives for Whole Genome Amplification in Forensic STR Analysis

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jun 25;23(13):7090. doi: 10.3390/ijms23137090.


Modern PCR-based analytical techniques have reached sensitivity levels that allow for obtaining complete forensic DNA profiles from even tiny traces containing genomic DNA amounts as small as 125 pg. Yet these techniques have reached their limits when it comes to the analysis of traces such as fingerprints or single cells. One suggestion to overcome these limits has been the usage of whole genome amplification (WGA) methods. These methods aim at increasing the copy number of genomic DNA and by this means generate more template DNA for subsequent analyses. Their application in forensic contexts has so far remained mostly an academic exercise, and results have not shown significant improvements and even have raised additional analytical problems. Until very recently, based on these disappointments, the forensic application of WGA seems to have largely been abandoned. In the meantime, however, novel improved methods are pointing towards a perspective for WGA in specific forensic applications. This review article tries to summarize current knowledge about WGA in forensics and suggests the forensic analysis of single-donor bioparticles and of single cells as promising applications.

Keywords: DNA typing; forensic genetics; short tandem repeat (STR); whole genome amplification (WGA).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Fingerprinting* / methods
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.