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Forensic DNA Analysis. The basic steps of forensic DNA analysis include: Collection of evidence. Common sources of DNA evidence at the scene of a crime include blood, skin cells, semen, and hair. Analysis with a DNA analyzer. Although all humans share Short tandem repeats STRs are regions that are highly variable between individuals and are used in forensic labs to confirm or exclude a match. Check for a match. In paternity cases or if a suspect has been identified in a crime, a sample can be taken from that person and tested.


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  • The most common method for this is a buccal swab, which is performed by running a swab in the inner cheek. If no suspect has been identified, results can be run against a state or national DNA database to look for a match. In the U. In each step of the procedure, it is important to avoid contamination to have a system of controls in place to verify the accuracy of your results.

    Mitochondrial DNA sequencing is a specialized technique that uses the separate mitochondrial DNA present in most cells. This DNA is passed down the material line and is not unique between individuals. However, because of the number of mitochondria present in cells, mtDNA analysis can be used for highly degraded samples or samples where STR analysis would not produce enough data to be useful.

    Because of the increased chance of contamination when dealing with mtDNA, few laboratories process mitochondrial samples. Those that do have specialized protocols in place that further separate different samples from each other to avoid cross-contamination. Rapid DNA is a "swab in-profile out" technology that completely automates the entire DNA extraction, amplification, and analysis process.

    Rapid DNA instruments are able to go from a swab to a DNA profile in as little as 90 minutes and eliminates the need for trained scientists to perform the process. These instruments are being looked at for use in the offender booking process allowing police officers to obtain the DNA profile of the person under arrest. Currently, DNA obtained from these instruments is not eligible for upload to national DNA databases as they do not analyze enough loci to meet the standard threshold.

    However, multiple police agencies already use Rapid DNA instruments to collect samples from people arrested in their area.

    These local DNA database are not subject to federal or state regulations. Also known as next-generation sequencing, massively parallel sequencing MPS builds upon STR analysis by introducing direct sequencing of the loci. Instead of the number of repeats present at each location, MPS would give the scientist the actual base pair sequence. Theoretically MPS has the ability to distinguish between identical twins as random point mutations would be seen within repeat segments that would not be picked up by traditional STR analysis.

    When a DNA profile is used in an evidentiary manner a match statistic is provided that explains how rare a profile is within a population.

    Forensic Science The Dark Side of Forensic DNA Documentary

    Specifically, this statistic is the probability that a person picked randomly out of a population would have that specific DNA profile. It is not the probability that the profile "matches" someone.

    Forensic DNA analysis - Wikipedia

    There are multiple different methods to determining this statistic and each are used by various laboratories based on their experience and preference. However, likelihood ratio calculations is becoming the preferred method over the other two most commonly used methods, random man not excluded and combined probability of inclusion. Match statistics are especially important in mixture interpretation where there is more than one contributor to a DNA profile. When these statistics are given in a courtroom setting or in a laboratory report they are usually given for the three most common races of that specific area.

    This is because the allele frequencies at different loci changed based on the individual's ancestry. The probability produced with this method is the probability that a person randomly selected out the population could not be excluded from the analyzed data. This type of match statistic is easy to explain in a courtroom setting to individuals who have no scientific background but it also loses a lot of discriminating power as it does not take into account the suspect's genotype.

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    This approach is commonly used when the sample is degraded or contains so many contributors that a singular profile cannot be determined. It is also useful in explaining to laypersons as the method of obtaining the statistic is straightforward. However, due to its limited discriminating power, RMNE is not generally performed unless no other method can be used. RMNE is not recommended for use in data that indicates a mixture is present.

    Combined probability of inclusion or exclusion calculates the probability that a random, unrelated, person would be a contributor to a DNA profile or DNA mixture. In this method, statistics for each individual locus is determined using population statistics and then combined to get the total CPI or CPE.

    These calculations are repeated for all available loci with all available data and then each value is multiplied together to get the total combined probability of inclusion or exclusion. Since the values are multiplied together, extremely small numbers can be achieved using CPI. Likelihood ratios LR are a comparison of two different probabilities to determine which one is more likely.

    When it involves a trial the LR is the probability of the prosecution's argument versus the probability of the defense's argument given their starting assumptions. Likelihood ratios are becoming more common in laboratories due to their usefulness in presenting statistics for data that indicates multiple contributors as well as their use in probabilistic genotyping software that predicts the most likely allele combinations given a set of data.

    The drawbacks with using likelihood ratios is that they are very difficult to understand how analysts arrived at a specific value and the mathematics involved get very complicated as more data is introduced to the equations. In order to combat these problems in a courtroom setting, some laboratories have set up a "verbal scale" that replaces the actual numeral value of the likelihood ratio. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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    For DNA testing for inherited diseases, see Genetic testing. Psychiatry Psychology Psychotherapy Social work. Accounting Body identification Chemistry Facial reconstruction Fingerprint analysis Firearm examination Footwear evidence Forensic arts Profiling Gloveprint analysis Palmprint analysis Questioned document examination Vein matching Forensic geophysics Forensic geology. Digital forensics. Related disciplines. Electrical engineering Engineering Fire investigation Fire accelerant detection Fractography Linguistics Materials engineering Polymer engineering Statistics Traffic collision reconstruction.

    Related articles. See also: Restriction fragment length polymorphism. See also: Amplified fragment length polymorphism.

    Two Forensic DNA Analysis Techniques Are Under Fire for Serious Inaccuracies

    Main article: STR analysis. See also: Mitochondrial DNA. Main article: Rapid DNA.