Eight More Agencies, Including ATF, Will Use STRmix™

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has joined seven state and local agencies as the latest forensic labs in the U.S. to use STRmix,™ a sophisticated forensic software used by trained, experienced DNA experts to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret.

The addition of the new agencies means a total of 24 U.S. labs are now using STRmix™. Another 70 U.S. labs are at various stages of installation, validation, and training.

The other labs now using STRmix™ are: the Broward (FL) Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory; Connecticut DESPP Division of Scientific Services; DuPage County (IL) Sheriff’s Crime Laboratory; Oakland County (MI) Sheriff’s Office; Palm Beach County (FL) Sheriff’s Office; Sacramento County (CA) District Attorney Crime Laboratory; and San Bernardino County (CA) Sheriff’s Department.

Government agencies which previously approved the use of STRmix™ include the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Michigan State Police, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the California Department of Justice.

“STRmix™ provides numerous advantages over historical methods of DNA profile analysis and greater statistical power for estimating evidentiary weight, all of which can be used reliably in human identification testing,” says John Buckleton of the New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). Buckleton developed STRmix™ in collaboration with ESR’s Jo-Anne Bright and Duncan Taylor from Forensic Science South Australia (FSSA).

According to Buckleton, there have been at least 13 successful admissibility hearings for STRmix™ in the U.S. to date, while DNA evidence interpreted with STRmix™ has been successfully used in numerous court cases.

Most recently, a Michigan court ruled that STRmix™ met all Daubert considerations – i.e., it has been subjected to rigorous testing and validated; published and peer reviewed; and generally accepted in the scientific community, as well as in federal and state courts throughout the U.S.        

ESR recently launched an upgraded version of STRmix™ after a full year of technical development and testing. STRmix™ v2.5 contains a number of powerful new features designed to significantly improve functionality, speed, memory, and ease of use.

Features available on STRmix™ v2.5 include: multi-kit functionality, enabling interpretation of DNA profiles from different test kits; a likelihood ratio (LR) batcher tool, allowing users to calculate multiple LRs from multiple reference inputs to a previously run deconvolution; and a combined DNA Index System (CODIS) report.

Internationally, STRmix™ has been used in casework since 2012, and has been used to interpret DNA evidence in thousands of cases. It is currently in use in labs in Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Canada.

For more information about STRmix™ visit http://www.esr.cri.nz/ or http://strmix.esr.cri.nz/.

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