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Forensics Training Tool Takes "Real World" Approach to Using New Technology

NCJ Number
Techbeat Dated: November/December 2016 Pages: 13-15
Date Published
December 2016
3 pages
This article describes the features and benefits of a new software forensic training tool that takes the user into the "real world" of the forensic laboratory, which has all the latest cutting-edge technology needed to complete the training task of learning how to use massively parallel sequencing (MPS).

Provided by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), this software forensic training tool was developed specifically to provide training in the use of MPS, which uses advanced technology platforms to analyze millions of strands of DNA at a time, enabling analysts to look at many more Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), including nuclear STRs and the STRs found on the Y chromosome, as well as hundreds to thousands of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in one run. The software training tool for MPS creates a virtual-reality forensic laboratory similar to that of a video game. The FTCoE debuted this tool in a workshop at an International Symposium on Human Identification. Attendees indicated they had been exposed to presentations on MPS technology previously, but had never been able to grasp it at the molecular levels. With the new tool, users become the lab worker who does the work, accompanied by an explanation of why the user is doing the action portrayed. When the user completes a step, the tool explains the science underlying the step. This software can be used as no-cost training that does not require travel or access to the needed equipment for multiple trainees.

Date Published: December 1, 2016