CFSRE researchers in the forensic biology unit work in collaboration with local laboratories, vendors, university’s, and law enforcement to evaluate new methods and technologies to optimize the recovery and/or interpretation of DNA from challenging sample types. The resulting information and resources found in this section allows for the dissemination of these optimized methods or evaluations to laboratories that are interested in implementing these suggested procedures.

HumanID1

Research

CFSRE researchers focus on developing recommended methods for laboratories to optimize the results generated from various sample and case types. This includes recovering touch DNA from firearms, fired cartridge cases, post-blast explosive materials, as well as developing methods to better interpret complex DNA mixtures from a variety of case types including sexual assault cases. New products are also evaluated through partnerships with vendors for laboratories to evaluate implementation.

Benefits

Due to constraints in the availability of resources of most laboratories, optimization of methods and new product evaluation is lower priority compared to casework and is often set-aside until resources become available or until new guidelines force implementation.
Research performed at CFSRE allows agencies to evaluate the results generated and determine if the implementation of the suggested protocol will be beneficial to bring into the laboratory for traditional testing without having to spend the time performing the research in-house.
Vendors also have the opportunity to receive feedback from the perspective of a case working laboratory on newer methods or products before being released to the community.

Applications

HID research at the CFSRE has aimed to optimize workflows for processing fired cartridge cases, identification of optimal sampling locations within a firearm, as well as rendered safe and post-blast explosives and their containers. We have performed evaluations of new swab products and collection techniques for the sampling of DNA evidence as well as other products to enhance the separation of sperm cells from sexual assault cases. The CFSRE has also focused on the assessment of complex mixtures on various probabilistic genotyping platforms and evaluated RapidDNA platforms.

Resources

The CFSRE is working to develop training materials and resources for law enforcement and practitioner communities to accelerate the implementation of suggested products and workflows.