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Assessment of Mock Cases Involving Complex Low Template DNA Mixtures: A Descriptive Study

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International: Genetics Volume: 6 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2012 Pages: 697-707
Corina C.G. Benschop; Hinda Haned; Tanja J.P. de Blaeij; Alexander J. Meulenbroek; Titia Sijen
Date Published
December 2012
11 pages
This study examined forensic DNA analysis and interpretation of samples containing multiple contributors with low template (LT) components.
Complex DNA mixtures with low template (LT) components provide the most challenging cases to interpret and report. In this study, the authors designed such mixtures, and they describe how reporting officers (ROs) at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) assess these when embedded in a mock case setting. DNA mixtures containing LT DNA from two to four contributors, sporadic contamination (mimicked by adding 6 pg of DNA, which represents once cell equivalent) and/or DNA of relatives (brothers), were amplified four-fold using the AmpFlSTR() NGM PCR Amplification Kit. Consensus profiles were then generated which included the alleles detected in at least half of the replicates. Four mock cases were created by including reference profiles of a hypothetical victim and suspect. The mock cases were assessed by eight ROs following the stepwise interpretation approach currently in use at the NFI. With this approach, the results of the comparisons between the DNA profiles of the evidentiary trace and the reference profiles are classified into four categories of evidential value [1]. The interpretations by the ROs were compared to the likelihood ratios (LRs) obtained from a probabilistic model that allows a calculation of LRs to assist the interpretation of LT DNA evidence and both were compared to the true composition of the designed mixtures. (Published Abstract)