Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL

Linköping, Sweden

Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL

Linköping, Sweden

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Albinsson L.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Noren L.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Hedell R.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Ansell R.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Ansell R.,Linköping University
Forensic Science International: Genetics | Year: 2011

The European Standard Set of loci (ESS) has been extended with five additional short tandem repeat (STR) loci following the recommendations of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) and the European DNA Profiling Group (EDNAP) to increase the number of loci routinely used by the European forensic community. Subsequently, a new extended Swedish population database, based on 425 individuals, has been assembled using the new STR multiplex kits commercially available. Allele frequencies and statistical parameters of forensic interest for 15 autosomal STR loci (D3S1358, TH01, D21S11, D18S51, D10S1248, D1S1656, D2S1338, D16S539, D22S1045, vWA, D8S1179, FGA, D2S441, D12S391 and D19S433) were obtained from the analysis of the PowerPlex® ESX 16 System kit (Promega Corporation, USA). According to the data no evidence of deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was found. The observed heterozygosity varies between 0.755 (TH01) and 0.892 (D1S1656). The power of discrimination was smallest for D22S1045 (0.869) and largest for D1S1656 (0.982) while the power of exclusion was smallest for TH01 (0.518) and largest for D1S1656 (0.778). A concordance study was performed on the five amplification systems: PowerPlex® ESX 16 System, PowerPlex® ESI 16 System (Promega Corporation, USA), AmpFlSTR® NGM™, AmpFlSTR® SGM Plus™ (Applied Biosystems, USA) and Investigator ESSplex (Qiagen, Germany) to reveal null alleles and other divergences between the kits. For the 425 DNA profiles included, AmpFlSTR® NGM™ revealed two null alleles, AmpFlSTR® SGM Plus™ revealed one, and Investigator ESSplex revealed a micro-variant, while the rest of the alleles showed full concordance between the kits tested. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Dufva C.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Nilsson A.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL
Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series | Year: 2011

There is often a demand for statistics to evaluate and improve different analytical methods. This is especially important in forensic DNA analysis, facing a wide variety of items and substrates, from which samples are collected. For LT DNA analysis it is valuable to have data showing what kind of results that are received, readily divided into different categories of items. We have developed a database showing the success rates for different items. During the years 2008-2010 LT DNA results were collected in 417 cases, with a success rate of 38%. Corresponding success rate per sample in the different categories of items (i.e. knives, electronics and bombs, letters and envelopes) vary between 7% and 19%. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Hedman J.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Hedman J.,Lund University | Dalin E.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Rasmusson B.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | And 2 more authors.
Forensic Science International: Genetics | Year: 2011

Amylase testing has been used as a presumptive test for crime scene saliva for over three decades, mainly to locate saliva stains on surfaces. We have developed a saliva screening application for crime scene trace swabs, utilising an amylase sensitive paper (Phadebas® Forensic Press test). Positive results were obtained for all tested dried saliva stains (0.5-32 μL) with high or intermediate amylase activity (840 and 290 kU/L). Results were typically obtained within 5 min, and all samples that produced DNA profiles were positive. However, salivary amylase activities, as well as DNA concentrations, vary significantly between individuals. We show that there is no correlation between amylase activity and amount of DNA in fresh saliva. Even so, a positive amylase result indicates presence of saliva, and thereby presence of DNA. Amylase testing may be useful for screening in investigations where the number of DNA analyses is limited due to cost, e.g., in volume crime. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Hedman J.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Hedman J.,Lund University | Radstrom P.,Lund University
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2013

PCR is an important and powerful tool in several fields, including clinical diagnostics, food analysis, and forensic analysis. In theory, PCR enables the detection of one single cell or DNA molecule. However, the presence of PCR inhibitors in the sample affects the amplification efficiency of PCR, thus lowering the detection limit, as well as the precision of sequence-specific nucleic acid quantification in real-time PCR. In order to overcome the problems caused by PCR inhibitors, all the steps leading up to DNA amplification must be optimized for the sample type in question. Sampling and sample treatment are key steps, but most of the methods currently in use were developed for conventional diagnostic methods and not for PCR. Therefore, there is a need for fast, simple, and robust sample preparation methods that take advantage of the accuracy of PCR. In addition, the thermostable DNA polymerases and buffer systems used in PCR are affected differently by inhibitors. During recent years, real-time PCR has developed considerably and is now widely used as a diagnostic tool. This technique has greatly improved the degree of automation and reduced the analysis time, but has also introduced a new set of PCR inhibitors, namely those affecting the fluorescence signal. The purpose of this chapter is to view the complexity of PCR inhibition from different angles, presenting both molecular explanations and practical ways of dealing with the problem. Although diagnostic PCR brings together scientists from different diagnostic fields, end-users have not fully exploited the potential of learning from each other. Here, we have collected knowledge from archeological analysis, clinical diagnostics, environmental analysis, food analysis, and forensic analysis. The concept of integrating sampling, sample treatment, and the chemistry of PCR, i.e., pre-PCR processing, will be addressed as a general approach to overcoming real-time PCR inhibition and producing samples optimal for PCR analysis. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Hedman J.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Hedman J.,Lund University | Ansell R.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Ansell R.,Linköping University | And 2 more authors.
BMC Research Notes | Year: 2010

Background: Assessment of DNA profile quality is vital in forensic DNA analysis, both in order to determine the evidentiary value of DNA results and to compare the performance of different DNA analysis protocols. Generally the quality assessment is performed through manual examination of the DNA profiles based on empirical knowledge, or by comparing the intensities (allelic peak heights) of the capillary electrophoresis electropherograms. Results. We recently developed a ranking index for unbiased and quantitative quality assessment of forensic DNA profiles, the forensic DNA profile index (FI) (Hedman et al. Improved forensic DNA analysis through the use of alternative DNA polymerases and statistical modeling of DNA profiles, Biotechniques 47 (2009) 951-958). FI uses electropherogram data to combine the intensities of the allelic peaks with the balances within and between loci, using Principal Components Analysis. Here we present the construction of FI. We explain the mathematical and statistical methodologies used and present details about the applied data reduction method. Thereby we show how to adapt the ranking index for any Short Tandem Repeat-based forensic DNA typing system through validation against a manual grading scale and calibration against a specific set of DNA profiles. Conclusions. The developed tool provides unbiased quality assessment of forensic DNA profiles. It can be applied for any DNA profiling system based on Short Tandem Repeat markers. Apart from crime related DNA analysis, FI can therefore be used as a quality tool in paternal or familial testing as well as in disaster victim identification. © 2010 Nordgaard et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Noren L.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Hedell R.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Hedell R.,Chalmers University of Technology | Ansell R.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | And 3 more authors.
Investigative Genetics | Year: 2013

Background: The success of forensic DNA analysis is limited by the size, quality and purity of biological evidence found at crime scenes. Sample impurities can inhibit PCR, resulting in partial or negative DNA profiles. Various DNA purification methods are applied to remove impurities, for example, employing centrifugal filter devices. However, irrespective of method, DNA purification leads to DNA loss. Here we evaluate the filter devices Amicon Ultra 30 K and Microsep 30 K with respect to recovery rate and general performance for various types of PCR-inhibitory crime scene samples.Methods: Recovery rates for DNA purification using Amicon Ultra 30 K and Microsep 30 K were gathered using quantitative PCR. Mock crime scene DNA extracts were analyzed using quantitative PCR and short tandem repeat (STR) profiling to test the general performance and inhibitor-removal properties of the two filter devices. Additionally, the outcome of long-term routine casework DNA analysis applying each of the devices was evaluated.Results: Applying Microsep 30 K, 14 to 32% of the input DNA was recovered, whereas Amicon Ultra 30 K retained 62 to 70% of the DNA. The improved purity following filter purification counteracted some of this DNA loss, leading to slightly increased electropherogram peak heights for blood on denim (Amicon Ultra 30 K and Microsep 30 K) and saliva on envelope (Amicon Ultra 30 K). Comparing Amicon Ultra 30 K and Microsep 30 K for purification of DNA extracts from mock crime scene samples, the former generated significantly higher peak heights for rape case samples (P-values <0.01) and for hairs (P-values <0.036). In long-term routine use of the two filter devices, DNA extracts purified with Amicon Ultra 30 K were considerably less PCR-inhibitory in Quantifiler Human qPCR analysis compared to Microsep 30 K.Conclusions: Amicon Ultra 30 K performed better than Microsep 30 K due to higher DNA recovery and more efficient removal of PCR-inhibitory substances. The different performances of the filter devices are likely caused by the quality of the filters and plastic wares, for example, their DNA binding properties. DNA purification using centrifugal filter devices can be necessary for successful DNA profiling of impure crime scene samples and for consistency between different PCR-based analysis systems, such as quantification and STR analysis. In order to maximize the possibility to obtain complete STR DNA profiles and to create an efficient workflow, the level of DNA purification applied should be correlated to the inhibitor-tolerance of the STR analysis system used. © 2013 Norén et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Hedman J.,Lund University | Hedman J.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Nordgaard A.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Nordgaard A.,Linköping University | And 5 more authors.
Analytical Biochemistry | Year: 2010

The success rate of diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis is lowered by inhibitory substances present in the samples. Recently, we showed that tolerance to PCR inhibitors in crime scene saliva stains can be improved by replacing the standard DNA polymerase Ampli. Taq Gold with alternative DNA polymerase-buffer systems (Hedman et al., BioTechniques 47 (2009) 951-958). Here we show that blending inhibitor-resistant DNA polymerase-buffer systems further increases the success rate of PCR for various types of real crime scene samples showing inhibition. For 34 of 42 " inhibited" crime scene stains, the DNA profile quality was significantly improved using a DNA polymerase blend of Ex. Taq Hot Start and PicoMaxx High Fidelity compared with Ampli. Taq Gold. The significance of the results was confirmed by analysis of variance. The blend performed as well as, or better than, the alternative DNA polymerases used separately for all tested sample types. When used separately, the performance of the DNA polymerases varied depending on the nature of the sample. The superiority of the blend is discussed in terms of complementary effects and synergy between the DNA polymerase-buffer systems. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Hedell R.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Hedell R.,Chalmers University of Technology | Dufva C.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | Ansell R.,Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL | And 5 more authors.
Forensic Science International: Genetics | Year: 2015

Forensic DNA analysis applying PCR enables profiling of minute biological samples. Enhanced analysis conditions can be applied to further push the limit of detection, coming with the risk of visualising artefacts and allele imbalances. We have evaluated the consecutive increase of PCR cycles from 30 to 35 to investigate the limitations of low-template (LT) DNA analysis, applying the short tandem repeat (STR) analysis kit PowerPlex ESX 16. Mock crime scene DNA extracts of four different quantities (from around 8-84 pg) were tested. All PCR products were analysed using 5, 10 and 20 capillary electrophoresis (CE) injection seconds. Bayesian models describing allele dropout patterns, allele peak heights and heterozygote balance were developed to assess the overall improvements in EPG quality with altered PCR/CE settings. The models were also used to evaluate the impact of amplicon length, STR marker and fluorescent label on the risk for allele dropout. The allele dropout probability decreased for each PCR cycle increment from 30 to 33 PCR cycles. Irrespective of DNA amount, the dropout probability was not affected by further increasing the number of PCR cycles. For the 42 and 84 pg samples, mainly complete DNA profiles were generated applying 32 PCR cycles. For the 8 and 17 pg samples, the allele dropouts decreased from 100% using 30 cycles to about 75% and 20%, respectively. The results for 33, 34 and 35 PCR cycles indicated that heterozygote balance and stutter ratio were mainly affected by DNA amount, and not directly by PCR cycle number and CE injection settings. We found 32 and 33 PCR cycles with 10 CE injection seconds to be optimal, as 34 and 35 PCR cycles did not improve allele detection and also included CE saturation problems. We find allele dropout probability differences between several STR markers. Markers labelled with the fluorescent dyes CXR-ET (red in electropherogram) and TMR-ET (shown as black) generally have higher dropout risks compared with those labelled with JOE (green) and fluorescein (blue). Overall, the marker D10S1248 has the lowest allele dropout probability and D8S1179 the highest. The marker effect is mainly pronounced for 30-32 PCR cycles. Such effects would not be expected if the amplification efficiencies were identical for all markers. Understanding allele dropout risks and the variability in peak heights and balances is important for correct interpretation of forensic DNA profiles. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Lund University, Chalmers University of Technology, Linköping University and Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL
Type: | Journal: Forensic science international. Genetics | Year: 2014

Forensic DNA analysis applying PCR enables profiling of minute biological samples. Enhanced analysis conditions can be applied to further push the limit of detection, coming with the risk of visualising artefacts and allele imbalances. We have evaluated the consecutive increase of PCR cycles from 30 to 35 to investigate the limitations of low-template (LT) DNA analysis, applying the short tandem repeat (STR) analysis kit PowerPlex ESX 16. Mock crime scene DNA extracts of four different quantities (from around 8-84 pg) were tested. All PCR products were analysed using 5, 10 and 20 capillary electrophoresis (CE) injection seconds. Bayesian models describing allele dropout patterns, allele peak heights and heterozygote balance were developed to assess the overall improvements in EPG quality with altered PCR/CE settings. The models were also used to evaluate the impact of amplicon length, STR marker and fluorescent label on the risk for allele dropout. The allele dropout probability decreased for each PCR cycle increment from 30 to 33 PCR cycles. Irrespective of DNA amount, the dropout probability was not affected by further increasing the number of PCR cycles. For the 42 and 84 pg samples, mainly complete DNA profiles were generated applying 32 PCR cycles. For the 8 and 17 pg samples, the allele dropouts decreased from 100% using 30 cycles to about 75% and 20%, respectively. The results for 33, 34 and 35 PCR cycles indicated that heterozygote balance and stutter ratio were mainly affected by DNA amount, and not directly by PCR cycle number and CE injection settings. We found 32 and 33 PCR cycles with 10 CE injection seconds to be optimal, as 34 and 35 PCR cycles did not improve allele detection and also included CE saturation problems. We find allele dropout probability differences between several STR markers. Markers labelled with the fluorescent dyes CXR-ET (red in electropherogram) and TMR-ET (shown as black) generally have higher dropout risks compared with those labelled with JOE (green) and fluorescein (blue). Overall, the marker D10S1248 has the lowest allele dropout probability and D8S1179 the highest. The marker effect is mainly pronounced for 30-32 PCR cycles. Such effects would not be expected if the amplification efficiencies were identical for all markers. Understanding allele dropout risks and the variability in peak heights and balances is important for correct interpretation of forensic DNA profiles.


PubMed | Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science SKL
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Investigative genetics | Year: 2013

The success of forensic DNA analysis is limited by the size, quality and purity of biological evidence found at crime scenes. Sample impurities can inhibit PCR, resulting in partial or negative DNA profiles. Various DNA purification methods are applied to remove impurities, for example, employing centrifugal filter devices. However, irrespective of method, DNA purification leads to DNA loss. Here we evaluate the filter devices Amicon Ultra 30 K and Microsep 30 K with respect to recovery rate and general performance for various types of PCR-inhibitory crime scene samples.Recovery rates for DNA purification using Amicon Ultra 30 K and Microsep 30 K were gathered using quantitative PCR. Mock crime scene DNA extracts were analyzed using quantitative PCR and short tandem repeat (STR) profiling to test the general performance and inhibitor-removal properties of the two filter devices. Additionally, the outcome of long-term routine casework DNA analysis applying each of the devices was evaluated.Applying Microsep 30 K, 14 to 32% of the input DNA was recovered, whereas Amicon Ultra 30 K retained 62 to 70% of the DNA. The improved purity following filter purification counteracted some of this DNA loss, leading to slightly increased electropherogram peak heights for blood on denim (Amicon Ultra 30 K and Microsep 30 K) and saliva on envelope (Amicon Ultra 30 K). Comparing Amicon Ultra 30 K and Microsep 30 K for purification of DNA extracts from mock crime scene samples, the former generated significantly higher peak heights for rape case samples (P-values <0.01) and for hairs (P-values <0.036). In long-term routine use of the two filter devices, DNA extracts purified with Amicon Ultra 30 K were considerably less PCR-inhibitory in Quantifiler Human qPCR analysis compared to Microsep 30 K.Amicon Ultra 30 K performed better than Microsep 30 K due to higher DNA recovery and more efficient removal of PCR-inhibitory substances. The different performances of the filter devices are likely caused by the quality of the filters and plastic wares, for example, their DNA binding properties. DNA purification using centrifugal filter devices can be necessary for successful DNA profiling of impure crime scene samples and for consistency between different PCR-based analysis systems, such as quantification and STR analysis. In order to maximize the possibility to obtain complete STR DNA profiles and to create an efficient workflow, the level of DNA purification applied should be correlated to the inhibitor-tolerance of the STR analysis system used.

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