Future of Forensic DNA Analysis
What are we doing?
We are addressing some of the main difficulties of DNA analysis in forensic science by finding new ways of analysing samples with multiple contributors. When samples are collected at a crime scene and sent for analysis, a complex mix of DNA sequences can be detected; for example if the sample was collected from a bag, multiple people may have touched the bag and the sample can contain DNA from all those individuals.
Why are we doing it?
The current data analysis techniques for DNA profiling do not always give consistent results and the methods used are not always transparent. We are looking at new techniques to analyse these complex samples to generate clearer and more robust DNA evidence in the criminal justice system. Legal challenges are being made on the basis that the analysis is commercially based black box with no transparency to allow validation of the process.
How will we do it?Strategic Conversation, Literature reviews, Other
Most forensic DNA analysis involves the use of Short Tandem Repeat Markers (STRs) which allow us to compare particular parts of a DNA sequence. We are developing new methods of DNA analysis using unique markers and Massively Parallel Sequencing to provide data which can be analysed in consistent, transparent ways to allow analysis of samples containing DNA from multiple contributors. These methods will also be compatible with the current STRs markers to allow continued use of the existing DNA databases.