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FY15 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program - Dallas County (TX)

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $592,042)

The project will address the need for improved and expanded DNA testing capabilities in a local forensic DNA laboratory. The goal of the project is to increase testing capacity in both DNA analysis and evidence screening. A rapid DNA instrument will be purchased and validated for use in analyzing DNA standards. The validation of a fully automated sample-to-DNA profile instrument for the processing of DNA standards will completely separate the DNA analysis of known standards from evidentiary samples, and will reduce the number of samples requiring full DNA extraction and quantification. As a result, analysts will be able to process larger numbers of evidentiary samples at one time, reducing the amount of overall processing time for batches of DNA samples, and allowing analysts to focus more on the interpretational steps of the analysis.

The Institute currently performs STR locus amplification of casework samples using a two-kit system consisting of the Applied Biosystems (ABI) AmpFLSTR Profiler Plus and AmpFLSTR Cofiler kits. As a result, each DNA sample requires two separate amplifications in order to obtain results for all 13 core STR loci. In this project, we will validate and implement a new procedure for DNA profiling using a single amplification kit (Promega’s Powerplex Fusion PCR STR kit). The replacement of the two-kit methodology with a single PCR amplification system would reduce the amount of DNA consumed from casework samples, increase lab throughput, and reduce the amount of analyst time spent processing DNA samples. Inasmuch as the Federal Bureau of Investigation intends to expand the required CODIS core loci to 20 STR systems, the validation and implementation of the Powerplex Fusion PCR STR kit would also allow the Institute to continue entering DNA profiles into CODIS.

The purchase of a microscope and alternate light source with imaging capabilities will increase the laboratory’s screening capacity, improve the quality of the supporting documentation of the testing performed, and streamline the laboratory’s current verification process for microscopic examination of sexual assault evidence. Tablet computers will be purchased to document the equipment and reagents used during serological and DNA analysis and to enter the analytical results of testing. The addition of this equipment is expected to not only improve the quality of the supporting documentation for testing performed, but also reduce the bottleneck associated with the technical review process.


Date Created: September 21, 2015