Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $475,000)
In March 2018, the FBI established a Rapid DNA Task Force to investigate the potential use of Rapid DNA technology for the analysis of forensic evidence samples. This Task Force was separated into two Task Groups: The Non-CODIS Rapid DNA Best Practices/Outreach and Courtroom Considerations Task Group and The Rapid DNA Crime Scene Technology Advancement Task Group (Technology Advancement Task Group). The Technology Advancement Task Group is comprised of individuals from law enforcement, District Attorneys Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, DNA experts from NDIS participating laboratories, NIST and non-NDIS participating operations. The primary objective of the Technology Advancement Task Group is to drive and continuously monitor the maturity of Rapid DNA technology in order to ensure its reliable, responsible and appropriate implementation for crime scene DNA analyses and CODIS. In July 2020, the Technology Advancement Task Group published a joint position statement with the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) and the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes DNA Working Group (ENFSI) regarding the use of Rapid DNA Technology on forensic evidence for State and National DNA databases. The Joint Letter to the Editor in Forensic Science International – Genetics titled Rapid DNA for crime scene use: Enhancements and data needed to consider use on forensic evidence for State and National DNA Databasing - An agreed position statement by ENFSI, SWGDAM and the Rapid DNA Crime Scene Technology Advancement Task Group (FSI-Genetics 48 (2020) 102349) identified five major areas that must be addressed before Rapid DNA instruments can be tested and considered for the analysis of forensic evidence for State and National databasing purposes. The proposed study is targeted for the summer of FY22 after the enhancements to the technology are completed by the manufacturers. The FBI Laboratory will coordinate a multi-laboratory collaborative study with 12 CODIS Laboratories to test the limitations of the enhanced Rapid DNA technology outlined in (FSI-Genetics 48 (2020) 102349) on crime scene samples. The study is designed to test the entire crime scene sample Rapid DNA process, including extraction, with target DNA concentrations being calculated by the number of cells present in each sample with the objectives being: determine the variability between the instruments of the same manufacturer with the enhanced typing technology and to determine the limitations of the enhanced technology through sensitivity and mixture studies. Each instrument will be tested independently beginning with a sensitivity and stochastic sample which will help determine appropriate target input ranges for a second round of sensitivity and stochastic samples, followed by as a challenge samples set. The study will include a manual comparison of the data using conventional processing to the data produced by the Rapid DNA instruments during the study to compare the amount of DNA profile information obtained by the Rapid DNA instrument and determine if any allelic and/or locus dropout occurred. Deliverables will publish two independent articles, one for each manufacturer and a SWGDAM briefing.