eDNA - Expert Software for Forensic DNA Analysis

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(Project title: Software-based Expert System for Report Generation in Forensic DNA Examinations)

Deutsch (German Version)

To speed up forensic DNA analysis, expert software eDNA is developed at the Forensic Science Institute of Berlin Police in close collaboration with European partner institutes. The grant for the two year project has been awarded under the Programme “Prevention of and Fight against Crime” (ISEC) of the European Union.

Situation

DNA analysis has become an important tool to solve crime cases. In recent years, limited resources and growing demands for DNA analysis observed in Europe and overseas have led to severe backlogs in forensic DNA casework.

Objectives

The aim of the eDNA project is the development of a software solution to substitute the slow and laborious manual workflow for interpreting forensic. eDNA serves as a powerful analysis tool supporting forensic DNA experts in their everyday casework.

Features

eDNA provides intelligent visual support for the evaluation of DNA profiles from stains secured e.g. at crime scenes; automated comparison of DNA profiles, e.g. to reference DNA profiles originating from suspects or victims; and semi-automated forensic report generation.

Benefits

DNA experts are able to understand relevant facts of a criminal case much faster. Furthermore, automation of profile comparison and forensic reporting, summarizing the results of an examination, saves valuable working time. Taken together, eDNA leads to a more efficient data analysis and a higher throughput.

Features of eDNA in detail

  • Intuitive graphical user interface (GUI)
  • Incorporation of stain and reference DNA profiles related to a case or a batch into projects
  • Combination of replicate measurements to assess reproducibility
  • Support for different multiplex marker systems (e.g. STR and Y-STR kits)
  • Classification of DNA profiles according to completeness of marker systems, number of potential contributors, evaluation of usability for national DB entry
  • Comparison and matching of DNA profiles for the identification of known and unknown individuals in single-source and mixed-source stain profiles
  • (Semi-)Automated report generation
  • Fast and easy data import and export routines
    • Covering standard input formats (e.g. GeneMapper®)
    • Customizable output formats
    • Interfaces to LIMS and other external software (e.g. statistic tools)
  • Support for different languages and country/regional specifications

Software set-up

eDNA is a Java-based client-server-application. The JSF-based graphical user interface is easily accessible using a standard web browser on the client-side, while computationally expensive calculations are performed on a powerful central server within a forensic institute.

European Impact

The eDNA software has been developed in close cooperation with project partners from five forensic institutes and three universities from different European countries, i.e. Germany, Slovakia, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Norway and Austria. Their expertise and broad experience in forensic casework ensure that diverse country-specific requirements and interests are addressed during the development.

Availability

The eDNA software is currently disseminated throughout Europe. The software is freely available to forensic institutes of all member states of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI). Please contact us for details.

Dates

  • 24.-26.08.2016

    eDNA training and discussion on the future of eDNA at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in The Hague, The Netherlands

  • 09.06.2016

    eDNA Closing and Release Conference in Berlin, Germany

  • 08.06.2016

    3rd Working Meeting in Berlin, Germany

  • 03.05. – 04.05.2016

    Presentation at the 36th DNA-Symposium of the German forensic science institutes in Erfurt, Germany

  • 27.04. – 29.04.2016

    Presentation at the ENFSI DNA Working Group Meeting in Warsaw, Poland

  • 03.03. – 04.03.2016

    Introduction of an eDNA beta version at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in The Hague, The Netherlands

  • 26.01. – 27.01.2015

    2nd Working Meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia

  • 03.11. – 05.11.2015

    Presentation at the ENFSI Quality Conference in Tallinn, Estonia

  • 31.08. – 05.09.2015

    Poster presentation at the 26th Congress of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG) in Krakow, Poland

  • 12.05 – 13.05.2015

    Presentation at the 35th DNA-Symposium of the German forensic science
    institutes in Tutzing, Germany

  • 26.02.- 28.02.2015

    Presentation at the 35th Spurenworkshop in Berlin, Germany

  • 27.01 – 28.01.2015

    1st Working meeting in Madrid, Spain

  • 16.09. – 17.09.2014

    Kick-Off-Meeting in Berlin, Germany

Publications