The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS) in Houston, TX is the latest U.S. forensic lab to approve the use of STRmix™, a sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret.
HCIFS, which provides medical examiner and crime laboratory services, including death investigations and laboratory analysis, joins 30 other U.S. labs which now routinely use STRmix™ in resolving DNA profiles.
This includes everything from federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to state and local agencies, including the Michigan State Police, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Kansas City Police Crime Laboratory.
In addition, Le Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale du Quebec, a part of the Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) based in Montreal, recently became the second Canadian agency to approve the use of STRmix™.
Ontario’s Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS), one of the most extensive forensic science facilities in North America, approved STRmix™ use in August 2016.
“In the five short years since it was introduced, STRmix™ has moved from being an experimental technology to the broadly accepted norm in cases in which forensic DNA software is required to resolve mixed DNA profiles,” says John Buckleton DSc, FRSNZ, Forensic Scientist at the New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR).
“I expect use will continue to grow in the future as the software is continually improved and new features and functionality added.”
STRmix™: What is it?
(STRmix™ is an “expert software system” designed by researchers at ESR and Forensic Science South Australia (FSSA), used by DNA reporting analysts for the interpretation of forensic DNA profiles, with particular application to complex DNA mixtures with no restriction on the number of contributors. Courtesy of KiwiNetTV and YouTube)
STRmix™ is a forensic software used by trained, experienced DNA experts to resolve mixed DNA profiles, allowing a DNA profile to be matched directly against a database.
With STRmix™ Law Enforcement is Able To:
- Interpret DNA results faster
- Combine DNA profiles from different kits in the same interpretation
- Compare profiles against a person of interest and calculate a likelihood ratio
- Resolve previously unresolvable, complex DNA mixtures with no restriction on the number of contributors
- Use more of the information in a DNA profile
- Search complex, mixed DNA profiles against a database
The latest version of STRmix™, introduced in mid-2017, contained new features designed to improve functionality, speed, memory, and ease of use, including multi-kit functionality which enables interpretation of DNA profiles from different test kits and a likelihood ratio (LR) batcher tool, which allows users to calculate multiple LRs from multiple reference inputs to a previously run deconvolution.
(Learn More about ESR STRmix™: Resolve More DNA Mixtures. Courtesy of KiwiNetTV and YouTube)