Looking for Rapid Antigen Test Kits? Click here.

Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep Kit: Automated DNA Purification from Forensic Samples Using the Versatile VERSA1100 Workstation

When the goal is to accelerate forensic DNA analysis, superior tools are indispensable. The VERSA 1100 automation workstation is designed to automate Qiagen’s Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep Kit efficiently. This technology significantly enhances manual protocols, rendering them more efficient and swift. These advancements redefine the standards of efficiency and dependability within forensic laboratories, offering unparalleled benefits.

Understanding the Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep Kit

The Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep Kit by Qiagen is a product designed for forensic sample processing. The kit facilitates the automated purification of genomic DNA from forensic samples through compatible open DNA extraction platforms from third-party suppliers like Aurora’s VERSA series and similar providers. Specifically formatted for high-throughput applications, with ample reagents, it comprises multiple bottles of precisely measured buffers and enzymes, allowing one bottle per batch of up to 96 samples which is compatible with the throughput of VERSA. This strategy maximizes reagent efficiency, minimizes opened reagent storage, and mitigates contamination risks. It also permits volume adjustments to accommodate larger sample sizes. This kit expedites laboratory workflows, yielding substantial quantities of top-notch DNA for subsequent processing.

It helps isolate DNA from forensic samples, making it suitable for downstream applications such as PCR, STR analysis, or other analytical techniques used in forensic investigations. This blog lays out the automation preparation and processing of extraction and purification of genomic DNA from forensic samples using the Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep Kit.

Principle of Operation:

  • Reproducibility and Handling:
    • The kit guarantees reproducible handling of valuable samples through a four-step process: lyse, bind, wash, and elute.
    • Multiple pretreatments cater to various sample types, optimizing the kit’s efficacy across diverse samples.
  • Sample Processing:
    • Samples undergo lysis under denaturing conditions with proteinase K and Buffer, accommodating routine volumes or larger sample sizes up to 500 µl.
    • Magnetic-particle technology merges the efficiency of silica-based DNA purification with the ease of magnetic particle handling on open DNA extraction platforms.
  • DNA Isolation Process:
    • Magnetic separation separates particles from lysates using a magnet, facilitating efficient washing and elution in Buffer.
Principle of DNA extraction

Fig.1 Principle of DNA Isolation

The Deck layout of VERSA

VERSA Deck Layout

Fig.2 VERSA liquid handling workstation as it pertains to the Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep Kit.  This particular deck layout is designed for up to 96 samples.  This can be easily expanded to accommodate multiple plate automation for high-throughput protocols. The total runtime for 48 samples is about 84 minutes.  The deck layout is optimized to minimize the mobile distances of the pipette head, thus saving off a minute or two of runtime.

The VERSA deck layout includes the following modules

  • 8 channel pipette head with gripper
  • HEPA Filtered Hood with UV fluorescent light for VERSA series
  • Slots for 20 µl, 200 µl and 1000 µl pipette tip boxes.
  • Heater Shaker
  • Bead Mixer for dispensing magnetic beads
  • Reagent block cooler: storing buffers, reagents and enzymes at 4°C.
  • Cooler/Heater Flat Plate (4°C-90°C)
  • 8-well special reservoir

VERSA Software

VERSA Software

Fig.3 The VERSA1100 workstation is powered by the user-friendly VERSAware Plus software, which features a deck layout that allows users to select plate types from a library of existing labware. Software scripts can be created or modified using a drag-and-drop feature from the library of action-based commands. These features make it easy for users to create and modify scripts as needed. However, for Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep Kit workflows that are already pre-programmed, no modifications are needed. The pre-programmed workflows are designed to work seamlessly with the VERSA1100 platform and can be easily accessed through the software interface.

Streamlined Workflow

The automation minimizes manual intervention, significantly reducing human error and maximizing throughput. It can be configured starting from 24-sample upto 96-well format depending on instrument channels (4 or 8-channel head) – actual throughput time will depend on the specific procedure and steps involved.


  • The 300ul protocol takes approximately 84 minutes.
  • The 500ul protocol takes approximately 113 minutes.

Once the automation run concludes, the Standards and sample DNA tubes undergo manual vortexing and centrifugation, followed by determining the concentration of the sample DNA.

Different Kits can be automated on VERSA series:


The automation of the Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep Kit on the Aurora VERSA 1100 automated liquid handling workstation offers a solution for high-throughput quantification, reducing hands-on time and human errors with a total runtime of only 84 minutes for 48 samples setup.

VERSA liquid handling systems have the advantage of a user-friendly interface, with flexible options for modifying the number of libraries, the number of qPCR replicates, and the dilution factor to the desired experimental design with a maximum of 96 samples per run. Reliable, optimized and fully walk away comprehensive solution for quantitative studies.

So, dive into the world of automation with the VERSA 1100 and watch your lab zoom past the competition in forensic DNA analysis!