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NIJ and Midwest Research Institute-Introducing New Methods for DNA Analysis: Ability to Determine if DNA ID for Victims at the Scene Could Reduce Sample Volume

NCJ Number
Date Published
2 pages

This brief report describes the development and benefits of a unique genotyping method that can rapidly produce the identification of the source of DNA samples while at a crime scene.


Forensic investigators at a crime scene may identify a variety of potential DNA evidence. The intent is to find samples from both the victim and perpetrator. Rapidly producing DNA information at the crime scene could determine whether the DNA in a specific sample is that of the victim or an unknown suspect. This would reduce the subsequent DNA work required in the laboratory. Such capability was developed by Dr, Micah Halpern, formerly of Midwest Research Institute, under a grant from the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ). He was the first to demonstrate that a Short Tandem Repeat (STR) melt analysis technique could easily, rapidly, and cost-effectively produce a source DNA identification from samples for preliminary pre-screening outside a laboratory. The method enables DNA archiving at the crime scene, eliminating the need for lab extraction while maintaining the chain of custody for all DNA samples. Because of the benefits it offers, the STR melt curve analysis method could be considered for applications in forensics beyond rapid DNA analysis at the crime scene.

Date Published: January 1, 2015