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How it works: DNA information library service

Perlin, M.W. How it works: DNA information library service. Forensic Magazine, 9(1):35, 2012.


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Abstract: DNA information is an important way to identify criminals. In today's forensic DNA model, biological crime scene evidence is processed by a DNA laboratory producer, which both generates and interprets electronic data. The lab then notifies DNA information consumers, such as police, prosecutors and defense.

With the advent of lab automation, though, robots are generating ever greater quantities of more challenging DNA data. Painstaking human review of difficult data is slow and expensive, and loses considerable identification information [1]. This information loss (discarding informative data as "inconclusive", or reducing match strength a million-fold) diminishes DNA evidence.

Computer-based probabilistic genotyping [2, Sect 3.2.2] can eliminate the interpretation bottleneck, providing a thorough, accurate and objective statistical review of the DNA evidence [1]. Cybergenetics has been pioneering an on-demand approach to DNA interpretation that serves the criminal justice community. In this new DNA processing paradigm, a public crime lab identifies challenging data, and forwards it electronically to their Cybergenetics partner for computer processing. Within days, the company sends a TrueAllele® match report to the prosecutor or other DNA information consumer. The laboratory is thus relieved of the burden of interpreting challenging DNA data, and the information needs of criminal justice are met, with greater speed at lower total cost.


References

[1] Perlin MW, Legler MM, Spencer CE, Smith JL, Allan WP, Belrose JL, Duceman BW. Validating TrueAllele® DNA mixture interpretation. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 2011;56(6):1430-1447.

[2] SWGDAM Interpretation guidelines for autosomal STR typing by forensic DNA testing laboratories. 2010; http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/codis/swgdam-interpretation-guidelines.