Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $100,000)
The Southwest Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory DNA Department is requesting a forensic mixture interpretation system (called a probabilistic genotyping system) which will aid in complex mixture interpretation. Interpretation of complex mixtures are a time-consuming process that requires extensive time for the analyst doing in the interpretation, as well as the technical reviewer. Probabilistic genotyping software will aid in interpretation of mixtures that are currently being reported as inconclusive, as well as decrease the time the analyst spends interpreting each sample. The probabilistic system that is being requested will have enough storage to analyze the number of complex DNA mixtures that both of the DNA analysts encounter. It will be a stand-alone system, which will allow for the analyst to work on other things while the sample is being interpreted. The training will be held in-house via the internet, which will save the cost of travel for both analysts. This training will include how to use the system, how to explain the statistics in court, and also how to validate it. The validation of the system will require additional samples are run on each of the instruments in the laboratory, so the laboratory is requesting PCR kits for the samples, as well necessary supplies (capillaries and polymer) for the instruments to run them.
The DNA unit is also requesting travel and registration of one DNA analyst to the International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) in Seattle, WA in October 2017. This conference and workshop will be used to fill the required 8 hours of continuing education for this DNA analysts, as well as provide important information to keep the DNA analyst up-to-date on the most current technology and techniques in Forensic DNA testing.
The software currently in use on the DNA units quantification instrument (the AB 7500) often has connection issues that requires restarting the computer to re-establish connection. If the analyst does not restart the instrument, then the data collection software is unable to collect the data, even though the instrument is running. This wastes sample volume and chemicals used to test the samples. The SLCL is requesting the upgrade to this software which will save the time while using this instrument of constant restarts, will save important sample volume and will decrease on the amount of wasted chemicals from the lack of the connection from the instrument to the computer. nca/ncf