Forensic DNA: Compromised Evidence

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Description

Biological samples collected from crime scenes, mass disasters, and missing persons cases may have been exposed to harsh environmental conditions such as heat, direct sunlight, and water that break down the chemical structure of DNA. Environmental exposure damages DNA by randomly breaking the molecules into smaller pieces. Inhibitors of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), such as some textile dyes, can also interfere with the ability to recover a full DNA profile from biological evidence. New DNA tests are being developed to recover information from smaller regions of DNA, which are more likely to be intact following DNA damage. These new DNA tests include miniSTRs (using PCR primers close to the STR repeat region) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Whole genome amplification and DNA repair methods are also being evaluated to determine the possibility of enriching PCR amplifiable material from limited or damaged DNA templates.

Research Projects

The table below presents awards funded both prior to and under the DNA Initiative, which began in 2004.

Title Awardee Amount Award Number
Detection and Remediation of PCR Inhibition Using Real Time PCR Melt Curves as a Diagnostic Tool Florida International University 2010-DN-BX-K204 $294,800
Resolution of DNA Mixtures and Analysis of Degraded DNA Using the 454 DNA Sequencing Technology Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland 2010-DN-BX-K141 $699,230
CODIS STR Template Enrichment by Affinity Bead Capture and its Application in DNA Analysis Science Applications International Corporation 2009-DN-BX-K181 $243,368
Establishing Exclusion Criteria and the Significance of Inclusion for Complex Low-Template DNA Mixtures Trustees of Boston University, BUMC 2012-DN-BX-K050 $598,765
Molecular Tools for Low-Template DNA Analysis General Electric Company 2012-DN-BX-K047 $511,435
Pre-Extraction Separation of Mixed Source DNA Samples through Micromanipulation and Direct PCR Short Tandem Repeat Typing of Cells City of New York, Office of Chief Medical Examiner 2012-DN-BX-K043 $179,742
Tools for Improving the Quality of Aged, Degraded, Damaged, or Otherwise Compromised DNA Evidence Board of Regents University of Wisconsin 2010-DN-BX-K190 $999,825
Improved Tools and Interpretation Guidelines for Examining Limited Low Copy Number DNA Obtained from Degraded Single Source Samples: Bones, Teeth, and Hairs University of North Texas Health Science Center 2009-DN-BX-K188 $935,992
Low-Template DNA Mixture Interpretation: Determining the Number of Contributors Trustees of Boston University, BUMC 2011-DN-BX-K558 $464,617
Use of Pressure Cycling Technology to Enhance DNA Yield and Profile Success in Touch Samples Harris County, Texas 2011-DN-BX-K554 $76,778
The Behavior of Contamination and Methods for Extraction and Capture of Low Copy Number and Degraded DNA Washington State University Pullman 2011-DN-BX-K549 $249,867
DNA Forensics Using Single Molecule Technology: From DNA Recovery and Extraction to Genotyping Degraded and Trace Evidence Without PCR The University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. 2011-DN-BX-K542 $587,597
Application of Proteinases for DNA Isolation of Challenged Bone Specimens Research Foundation of CUNY 2009-DN-BX-K209 $33,037
NIJ Proposal to Enhance Methods for Studying Degraded DNA Washington State University, Spokane 2008-DN-BX-K008 $595,196
Tools for Improving the Quality of Aged, Degraded, Damaged or Otherwise Compromised DNA Evidence Louisiana State University 2007-DN-BX-K146 $580,337
Repair of DNA for Forensic Analysis General Electric Company 2006-DN-BX-K018 $453,472
Effect of DNA Degradation and Inhibition on PCR Amplification of Single-Source and Mixed Forensic Samples Florida International University 2006-DN-BX-K006 $347,399
Double-Strand Break Repair of Highly Degraded DNA University of Central Florida 2006-DN-BX-K005 $174,025
Use of MiniSTRs as Tools for the Investigation of DNA Degradation and Inhibition Florida International University 2005-MU-BX-K073 $171,394
Development and Evaluation of a Whole Genome Amplification Method for Accurate Multiplex STR Genotyping of Compromised Forensic Casework Samples Virginia Commonwealth University 2005-DA-BX-K002 $225,616
Developing a High-Yield DNA Isolation Method Using Matrix Proteinase for Compromised Skeletal Samples Sam Houston State University 2003-IJ-CX-K105 $25,001
Increasing the Predictability and Success Rate of Skeletal Evidence Typing: Using Physical Characteristics of Bone as a Metric for DNA Quality and Quantity Michigan State University 2002-IJ-CX-K016 $175,111
Novel STR Multiplexes With Reduced Size to Analyze DNA Ohio University 2002-IJ-CX-K007 $453,110
SNP Detection in Highly Degraded DNA University of California-Berkeley 2002-IJ-CX-K005 $215,322
Assessment and In Vitro Repair of Damaged DNA Templates University of Central Florida 2002-IJ-CX-K001 $115,123
Assessment and In Vitro Repair of Damaged DNA Templates University of Central Florida 2002-IJ-CX-K001 $169,924

Research Articles and Reports

Select a title to view an abstract from PubMed database (National Library of Medicine's) unless a different file type is indicated.

Title Authors Publication Year Awardee Award Number
The Correlation Between Skeletal Weathering and DNA Quality and Quantity Compromised DNA Evidence Lisa M. Misner,1, M.S.; Andrea C. Halvorson,1, M.S.; Jennifer L. Dreier,2,§ M.S.F.S.; Douglas H. Ubelaker,3 Ph.D.; and David R. Foran,4 Ph.D. J Forensic Sci. 2009 Jul;54(4):822-8 Michigan State University 2002-IJ-CX-K016
Repair of Damaged DNA for Forensic Analysis (pdf, 96 pages) John Nelson, Ph.D. Final Grant Report General Electric Company 2006-DN-BX-K018
Development and Evaluation of a Whole Genome Amplification Method for Accurate Multiplex STR Genotyping of Compromised Forensic Casework Samples (pdf, 84 pages) Dawson Cruz, Tracey Final Grant Report Virginia Commonwealth University 2005-DA-BX-K002
Evaluation and quantification of nuclear DNA from human telogen hairs. Opel KL, Fleishaker EL, Nicklas JA, Buel E, McCord BR. J Forensic Sci. 2008 Jul; 53(4):853-7 Ohio University 2002-IJ-CX-K007
Characterization of 26 miniSTR loci for improved analysis of degraded DNA samples Hill CR, Kline MC, Coble MD, Butler JM J Forensic Sci. 2008 Jan; 53(1):73-80. Epub 2007 Nov 13 NIST 2003-IJ-R-029
Developmental validation of reduced-size STR Miniplex primer sets. Opel KL, Chung DT, Drábek J, Butler JM, McCord BR. J Forensic Sci. 2007 Nov; 52(6):1263-71. Florida International University 2005-MU-BX-K073
Concordance study between the AmpFlSTR MiniFiler PCR amplification kit and conventional STR typing kits. Hill CR, Kline MC, Mulero JJ, Lagacé RE, Chang CW, Hennessy LK, Butler JM. J Forensic Sci. 2007 Jul; 52(4):870-3. Epub 2007 Jun 6. NIST 2003-IJ-R-029
Allele frequencies of six miniSTR loci of three ethnic populations in Singapore. Yong RY, Gan LS, Coble MD, Yap EP. Forensic Sci Int. 2007 Mar 2; 166(2-3):240-3. Epub 2006 Jan 23. NIST 2003-IJ-R-029
Novel thermostable Y-family polymerases: applications for the PCR amplification of damaged or ancient DNAs McDonald JP, Hall A, Gasparutto D, Cadet J, Ballantyne J, Woodgate R. Nucleic Acids Res. 2006 Feb 18; 34(4):1102-11 National Center for Forensic Sciences 2002-IJ-CX-K001
The application of miniplex primer sets in the analysis of degraded DNA from human skeletal remains. Opel KL, Chung DT, Drabek J, Tatarek NE, Jantz LM, McCord BR. J Forensic Sci. 2006 Mar; 51(2):351-6 Ohio University 2002-IJ-CX-K007
Assessment and In Vitro Repair of Damaged DNA Templates (pdf, 94 pages) Jack Ballantyne Final Grant Report University of Central Florida 2002-IJ-CX-K001
Increasing the Predictability and Success Rate of Skeletal Evidence Typing: Using Physical Characteristics of Bone as a Metric for DNA Quality and Quantity (pdf, 105 pages) Dr. David Foran Final Grant Report Michigan State University 2002-IJ-CX-K016
The Development of Miniplex Primer Sets for the Analysis of Degraded DNA (pdf, 86 pages) Bruce McCord Final Grant Report Ohio University 2002-IJ-CX-K007
Analysis of artificially degraded DNA using STRs and SNPs-results of a collaborative European (EDNAP) exercise. Dixon LA, Dobbins AE, Pulker HK, Butler JM, Vallone PM, Coble MD, Parson W, Berger B, Grubwieser P, Mogensen HS, Morling N, Nielsen K, Sanchez JJ, Petkovski E, Carracedo A, Sanchez-Diz P, Ramos-Luis E, Brion M, Irwin JA, Just RS, Loreille O, Parsons TJ, Syndercombe Court D, Schmitter H, Stradmann -Bellinghausen B, Bender K, Gill P. Forensic Sci Int. 2005 Dec 9; [Epub ahead of print] National Institute of Standards and Technology 2003-IJ-R-029
A quantitative PCR assay for the assessment of DNA degradation in forensic samples. Swango KL, Timken MD, Chong MD, Buoncristiani MR. Forensic Sci Int. 2006 Apr 20; 158(1):14-26. Epub 2005 Jun 3 California Department of Justice 2002-IJ-CX-K008
Characterization of new miniSTR loci to aid analysis of degraded DNA. Coble MD, Butler JM. J Forensic Sci. 2005 Jan; 50(1):43-53 National Institute of Standards and Technology 2003-IJ-R-029
Concordance study between Miniplex assays and a commercial STR typing kit. Drabek J, Chung DT, Butler JM, McCord BR. J Forensic Sci. 2004 Jul; 49(4):859-60. Ohio University 2002-IJ-CX-K007
A study on the effects of degradation and template concentration on the amplification efficiency of the STR Miniplex primer sets. Chung DT, Drabek J, Opel KL, Butler JM, McCord BR. J Forensic Sci. 2004 Jul; 49(4):733-40. Ohio University 2002-IJ-CX-K007
Characterization of UVC-induced DNA damage in bloodstains: forensic implications Hall A, Ballantyne J. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2004 380:72-83 University of Central Florida 2002-IJ-CX-K001
The development of reduced size STR amplicons as tools for analysis of degraded DNA. Butler JM, Shen Y, McCord BR. J Forensic Sci. 2003 Sep; 48(5):1054-64. Ohio University 2002-IJ-CX-K007
Date Modified: October 11, 2012