Forensic software improved for resolving degraded or mixed DNA samples

WASHINGTON, DC – The STRmix team has launched the latest version of its groundbreaking software for resolving low-level, degraded or mixed DNA samples from multiple contributors.

STRmix™ version 2.11 includes improvements to memory usage, general improvements to the models and model maker, and the inclusion of an upper bound for the HPD likelihood ratio (LR). However, the most important change is the addition of Amelogenin to the deconvolution and LR.

“These changes, combined with other recent enhancements such as the introduction in v2.10 of a Visualize Weights module to help analysts examine DNA interpretation results, make it easier for forensic laboratories to create highly useful, interpretable and legally admissible DNA produce results in a wide range of criminal cases, including violent crimes, sexual assault and cold cases,” says Dr. Jo-Anne Bright, Senior Science Leader of the STRmix team and co-developer of STRmix™.

The new features in STRmix™ v2.11 were created primarily in response to recommendations from the forensic laboratories currently using the software, allowing them to better meet the work needs they regularly encounter.

Unlike previous DNA analysis methods, which relied entirely on the application of fixed stochastic thresholds and other biological parameters to manually analyze DNA samples, STRmix™ assesses how closely a large number of potential DNA profiles resemble an observed DNA mixture or can explain it.

Based on proven methodologies routinely used in computational biology, physics, engineering and weather forecasting, STRmix™ calculates the probability of observed DNA evidence by assuming the DNA comes from a person of interest or from an unknown donor. These two probabilities are then presented as an LR, which infers the value of the findings and the level of support for one statement versus the other.

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The success of that methodology in solving DNA profiles previously considered too complex to interpret has led to the adoption and use of STRmix™ by 106 forensic organizations worldwide, including 80 local, state and federal agencies in the US. Since its introduction in 2012, STRmix™ has been used to interpret DNA evidence in more than 380,000 cases worldwide.

In addition to STRmix™ v2.11, the STRmix team has developed and previously launched two related software applications:

  • DBLR™, an application that, when used with STRmix™, enables forensic laboratories to perform comprehensive kinship analyses, perform rapid database searches, visualize the value of their DNA mixture evidence, and perform mixture-to-mixture matches ; And
  • FaSTR™ DNA, expert forensic software that integrates seamlessly with STRmix™ (if in use) to quickly analyze raw DNA data generated by genetic analyzers and standard profiling kits and assign a number of contributors (NoC) estimate.

In combination with STRmix™, these applications complete the entire workflow from analysis to interpretation and database matching.

STRmix Limited recently announced that all three software packages will be distributed in North, South and Central America by Ohio-based NicheVision Forensics, LLC. NicheVision, founded in 2007, has had exclusive distribution rights for STRmix™ in America since 2014.