Questions posed to expert witnesses by the legal community and the courts are expanding to include not just those relating to source level (i.e. â€˜who is the donor of the trace?â€™) but also those relating to activity level (i.e. â€˜how did the DNA get there?â€™).
To answer such questions within a probabilistic framework, empirical data is needed to estimate probabilities of transfer, persistence and recovery of DNA as well as background levels of DNA on everyday objects.
Laboratories that conduct such studies all use different experimental setups, trace recovery strategies and techniques and DNA analysis systems and equipment. It is essential for the forensic genetics community in general to establish whether the data generated by different labs are in concordance, and can therefore be readily used by the forensic community.
The aims and objectives of this ENFSI Monopoly 2013 project are to conduct a study of methodologies and data from different laboratories and to assess the comparability of the scientific data on transfer, persistence and recovery of DNA. This comparison will allow us to identify key factors that underlie potential variation. This information will be used to setup guidelines to enable sharing and database-storage of relevant scientific data. This will improve the ability of forensic scientists and other professionals of the Criminal Justice System to give evidence-based answers to questions that relate to the activity level of the crime under investigation. This project is funded by the European Union TVEFS-2020 program.
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