Have you tried OSIRIS, NCBI’s STR analysis tool?


More than 5 years ago, NCBI brought you OSIRIS (Open Source Independent Review and Interpretation System), a free, open-access tool for powerful and intelligent Short Tandem Repeat (STR) analysis.

Short Tandem Repeats (STRs) are repeated short stretches of DNA and are analyzed by measuring the length of the repeated region. They vary from individual to individual and are passed from parent to child.  STR analysis is broadly used in medicine, research and law enforcement – for stem cell transplants, diseases like Huntington’s, verifying research cell lines and samples, determining family relationships, and in criminal cases. In this blog post, we explore how you use OSIRIS in the real world and how your feedback has helped us improve this product.

Using OSIRIS in a Clinical Setting

Did you know that you can use STR analysis to monitor transplant progress in bone marrow and stem cell transplants?

“We use [OSIRIS] to look for small quantities of donor material in hematopoietic cells and look for the presence of donor/recipient material in other cell populations.”
– OSIRIS clinical user

Currently, the NIH Clinical Center ensures proper transplant care and support by using OSIRIS to monitor stem cell transplants. In one case, the first transplant for an NIH patient failed within a week, and a second transplant threatened to fail as well. However, rapid OSIRIS testing by the lab allowed the patient’s doctor to administer timely treatments to support the second transplant’s engraftment of donor cells. After nine months, OSIRIS testing showed the patient’s transplant was fully engrafted, and allowed the patient to finally go home.

Forensic and CODIS Testing

The FBI approved OSIRIS as an expert system for analyzing CODIS National DNA Databank samples. Federal and State laboratories use OSIRIS for high-throughput testing of many tens of thousands of criminal cases and CODIS samples, allowing the police to solve those unsolvable cases.

“OSIRIS analysis resulted in a 95% reduction in editing of analyzed profiles.” – OSIRIS DNA database user

Making OSIRIS Work Better for You

We worked with OSIRIS users like you to identify key areas of improvement and have many exciting new features to offer, including:

OSIRIS readout with labeled artifacts

Figure 1. OSIRIS identifies and labels artifacts.

How does it work?

OSIRIS uses mathematical algorithms to identify and eliminate the effect of artifacts and noise in the process of DNA profile analysis, providing automated quality control with increased accuracy and sensitivity. Advanced algorithms make analysis faster, allowing rapid analysis turnaround. You can also use OSIRIS more broadly for quality control of the entire laboratory STR analysis process.

Blog_5_2019_Blue_channel

Figure 2. Blue channel of PowerPlex Fusion STR analysis

Give OSIRIS a try today!

OSIRIS is a free software package for short tandem repeat (STR) DNA profile analysis produced by the NCBI. Download the User Guide and software for free.  Please contact us at  forensics@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov with any questions or suggestions about OSIRIS.

“Thanks to all of you for your hard work on this most excellent tool.  I want to let you know that OSIRIS is my main workhorse, and I tout it whenever possible and appropriate.” – OSIRIS forensic user

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