Training Materials: STR Typing Using Capillary Electrophoresis


Participants: John M. Butler (NIST) and Bruce R. McCord (Ohio University and now Florida International University)


Project Timeframe: September 2001 to present


Purpose: To provide helpful training materials to the scientific and legal communities using short tandem repeat (STRs) and capillary electrophoresis (CE) to perform forensic casework and other aspects of human identity DNA testing.


Progress: In 2006, ten different training workshops were conducted as part of forensic conferences or as specific training to individual forensic DNA laboratories around the country. Hundreds of PowerPoint slides were also made available on the NIST STRBase website so that these valuable educational materials may be used by others. For example, in February 2006 at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) meeting in Seattle, Washington, Dr. Butler and Dr. Bruce McCord, a colleague from Florida International University, conducted an all day workshop on advanced topics in forensic DNA analysis and provided instruction to 200 people representing federal, state, and local crime laboratories from 30 different states, industry leaders, college professors, expert witnesses, and defense lawyers.  The training materials presented are available on the NIST STRBase website:  Dr. Butler’s book, Forensic DNA Typing: Biology, Technology, and Genetics of STR Markers, is now in its second edition and used worldwide by forensic scientists, lawyers, and college students studying this dynamic field. 



Publications or Presentations Resulting From This Project (selected):

Butler, J.M., Buel, E., Crivellente, F., McCord, B.R. (2004) Forensic DNA typing by capillary electrophoresis: using the ABI Prism 310 and 3100 Genetic Analyzers for STR analysis. Electrophoresis, 25: 1397-1412.

John Butler workshop for Houston DNA Training (Houston, TX), April 3-4, 2007, "Topics and Techniques for Forensic DNA Analysis" [CE Fundamentals] [STR Artifacts] [CE Troubleshooting] [Mixture Interpretation] [More Mixtures] [qPCR and Low-Copy Number DNA Testing] [miniSTRs]

John Butler workshop for New Jersey State Police DNA Laboratory (Hamilton, NJ), December 5-6, 2006, "Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Analysis" [Introductions] [CE Fundamentals] [CE Troubleshooting] [Mixture Interpretation] [qPCR and Low-Copy Number DNA Testing] [miniSTRs] [Validation Essentials] [Fundamentals of Statistics and Population Genetics] [Mitochondrial DNA] [Y-STRs]

John Butler workshop for Segunda Reunión Internacional en Genética Forense (Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico), August 17, 2006 [STR DNA Analysis and Capillary Electrophoresis- English] [Análisis de ADN/STR y Electroforesis Capilar  - Español] - translation by Lilly Moreno (Florida International University)

John Butler workshop with Bruce McCord at 58th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (Seattle, WA), February 20, 2006, "Advanced Topics in STR DNA Analysis" [STR Biology, Markers, and Methods] [Capillary Electrophoresis Instrumentation: Theory and Application] [Validation Aspects to Consider in Bringing a New STR Kit "On-Line"] [CE Troubleshooting] [STR Mixture Interpretation] [DNA Quantitation with Real-time qPCR and Low Copy Number Issues] [Y-STRs and mtDNA]

John Butler talk for Human Identification E-Symposium (internet broadcast), April 14, 2005, "A Primer on DNA Profiling Using STR Markers" [.pdf] (see

John Butler and Bruce McCord workshop at Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (Mystic, CT), September 29-30, 2004 "Capillary Electrophoresis in DNA Analysis" [STR Analysis][Intro to CE][Data Interpretation][RT-PCR and miniSTRs][Higher Throughput Approaches][Troubleshooting the ABI 310][Additional Topics]

John Butler talk at ABI 310 Workshop for the Midwestern Association of Forensic Sciences (Minneapolis, MN), September 24, 2001, "Short tandem repeat DNA typing systems" and "ABI Prism 310 Genetic Analyzer: Chemistry, Hardware, and Software"


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Last updated: 06/19/2007

Disclaimer: This project was supported by National Institute of Justice Grant Number 2003-IJ-R-029, which is an interagency agreement between NIJ and the NIST Office of Law Enforcement Standards, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice. Certain commercial equipment, instruments and materials are identified in order to specify experimental procedures as completely as possible.  In no case does such identification imply a recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology nor does it imply that any of the materials, instruments or equipment identified are necessarily the best available for the purpose.