Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $100,000)
The Hennepin County DNA Laboratory has experienced an increasing number of challenging sample submissions in recent years. The DNA profiles developed from these samples frequently are from multiple contributors, often times three or more, and have a low quantity of DNA template. Coupled with other factors associated with forensic samples, such as, PCR inhibition and sample degradation, manually interpreting these complex profiles has added a significant amount of time to the final report process or are just not possible to interpret.
Our laboratory proposes to use funds from this award to purchase and implement a computerized probabilistic genotyping system that will replace our manual interpretation methods to the extent possible. The goal of this project is to reduce case completion turnaround by 10 20% (5 10 days using current case completion cycles). These systems use mathematical modeling to assess the characteristics of the profile and provide genotype probability distributions based on the profile data. Validated systems are currently in use in many labs across the US and other countries and this technology is expected to be used extensively in forensic DNA laboratories in the years to come.
The laboratory anticipates an 18 month implementation period including acquisition, hardware/software install, training, validation, SOP creation and competency exams.
Additionally the laboratory intends to use funding from this award to provide continuing scientific education for at least five members of the DNA Lab.