On a Mission to Solve the Toughest Forensic Challenges

Carmen Reedy, PhD
CAG Laboratory Manager

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The criminal justice system relies on state and local crime labs and the greater forensic science community to employ new DNA technologies to help solve the toughest active and cold cases. Our Center for Advanced Genomics® (CAG) applies its expertise in forensic science, genomics research, bioinformatics, and quality assurance to deliver quality-focused, advanced forensic solutions to federal, state, and local law enforcement. We develop and validate novel methods for maximizing DNA recovery in both yield and quality from forensic samples subjected to challenging conditions and evaluate and optimize sequencing and genotyping technologies for forensic applications.

An Indusrty First! GSA validated for FGG in accordance with FBI QAS and SWGDAM Guidelines
CAG scientists were the first to conduct a developmental validation of the Illumina® Infinium® Global Screening Array (GSA) on the iScan® system for use in forensic laboratories guided by the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) Validation Guidelines for DNA Analysis Methods and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Quality Assurance Standards (QAS). The GSA is a Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) solution using genome-wide SNP genotyping with markers targeting ancestry, identity, phenotype, and extended kinship. This validation characterized the performance of common challenging forensic samples on the GSA platform, as well as determining critical sample quality metrics, providing valuable insight into what forensic practitioners can expect from microarray-based genotyping data for FGG.  Read paper. 

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The CAG Shares its Research and Development Efforts with the Forensic Community via Publication and Open-source Platforms: 


The CAG published an internal validation of the Verogen ForenSeq® Kintelligence workflow, performed in accordance with SWGDAM guidelines and FBI QAS. This FGG solution is based on next-generation sequencing technology which targets forensically relevant markers along with ancestry, identity, and phenotype markers to estimate kinship. Read paper.


The CAG developed a containerized open source tool for converting Kintelligence targeted sequencing data to VCF files to enable the use of a wider, pre-existing infrastructure for genetic data manipulation and analysis. Read paper.

Enhanced DNA Workflows

In pursuit of our goal to reduce sexual assault kit (SAK) backlogs nationwide, forensic scientists at the CAG performed a review of Direct PCR and Rapid DNA approaches to streamline SAK testing.  Read paper.

dots representing relationships. Text "featured in forensic genomics - relationship inference paper published"

Relationship Inference

CAG bioinformaticians developed a path forward for evaluating relationship inference for SNP-based kinship analysis in cases of genotyping error. Read paper.

Family tree illustration over genomic display graphic


A hallmark of the multidisciplinary collaboration powering the CAG, the open source ‘skater’ software employs bioinformatics solutioning to address a forensic question – how to evaluate the impact of genotyping error in forensic samples.   Read paper. 
The skater story.


CAG genomic scientists evaluate the challenges of obtaining genetic signatures from proteins and propose methods to optimize collection. Read paper. 
The Proteo-ID story.

Head to the Latest Research page for a list of additional publications.

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