Use of PCR for human identification

Human trafficking is one of the most frequent and profitable crimes today. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime1, approximately 1.2 million children are victims of human trafficking throughout 161 countries. Most of these victims are sold into illegal adoptions, exploited physically or die without identification. Using genetic analysis, law enforcement agencies are able to generate DNA profiles of missing children and ultimately return them to their families. Watch this video for a true story about how nonprofit organization DNA-PROKIDS used the Identifiler® Direct kit to return one baby to her mother's arms.

With the use of PCR, DNA profiling can now work with damaged or smaller amounts of DNA and less labor is required than with earlier techniques using restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis2.  The PCR-based method analyzes variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs).  VNTRs are short sequences of bases that are repeated over and over again. If this DNA region (or loci) is particularly short (1-5 bases long), then it is called a short tandem repeat (STR). The length of repeats is highly variable in the population, but is similar between closely related individuals. The more STR regions that are tested in an individual, the more discriminating the test becomes; thus STR analysis provides an excellent identification tool3. For example, if examining 13 different STR loci, the odds that two random individuals would share the same patterns by chance are approximately one in 1 billion or greater.

Learn more about the Identifiler® Direct kit >

The Identifiler® Direct kit  is a robust, reliable, highly discriminating multiplex kit, amplifies core 13 markers making it consistent with STR database standards throughout the world.  It eliminates the tedious steps involved in DNA extraction and purification.  Blood or buccal samples on FTA® cards can be punched into PCR plates or tubes, and taken directly to PCR amplification without any loss in resulting data quality.


  1. Asplen C(2012) Fighting Back Against the Worst of Nature and Human Nature.  Forensic Magazine.  
  2. Jeffreys AJ et al. (1984) Hypervariable minisatellite regions in human DNA. Nature 314: 67-73.
  3. U.S. Department of Justice (2002) “Using DNA to solve cold cases”. 

For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.