Recapping 2019s top HID stories
At QIAGEN, we are always fine-tuning our strategies and improving solutions, scaling our applications to keep pace with emerging technologies, and partnering with you to advance forensic science and expand our service to the community.
Balance your quarantine reading time with some useful content from the field of human ID and forensics. Between child care and mobile working, we want you to take a moment to grab a cup of tea and catch up on what you may have missed in 2019.
Your partner from crime scene to courtroom
In September, QIAGEN acquired the FTA sample collection business from GE healthcare. The new portfolio includes the EasiCollect system for uniform and reliable sample collection, transport and storage, and enables QIAGEN to offer comprehensive workflows, right from crime scene to courtroom.
Mr. Goecker’s Ph.D. project involved the role of genetic variation in human hair shaft protein as a forensic tool and optimizing the chemical processing of hair for proteomic analysis.
Ms. Antão Sousa’s Ph.D. project was in forensic genetics, working on estimating Y-chromosome short tandem repeat (Y-STR) mutation rates and elucidating mutational mechanisms.
What's your story?
Contributions are invited from anyone who’s been working in the field of human identification for less than 10 years, and is currently affiliated with an institution or university, but most importantly, shares the goal of making a positive impact on our community.
Changing the game in the field of human ID
Finding answers and bringing closure to families is the task of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Supported by QIAGEN with expertise and equipment since 2001, the ICMP has built a state-of-the-art DNA laboratory system for the sole purpose of identifying missing persons. Dr. Thomas Parsons leads the technical processes as the ICMP’s Director of Science and Technology. Dr. Parsons recognizes the value of his work to families. “Doing our job correctly and getting our work done changes the experience for these traumatized people,” he says. “You can’t cure anything, but it can help alleviate some of the fundamental causes of ongoing trauma.”
While previous technologies required a reference sample from a parent, a child or a sibling to verify DNA identities, now a 1st or potentially even a 2nd degree cousin relationship may be sufficient. Dr. Parsons calls this a “paradigm shift.” The smallest DNA fragments can be analyzed with the new test method, opening the way to unveiling the identities behind historic samples from World War II or the armed conflict in Bosnia in the 1990s.
The work of the ICMP in collaboration with QIAGEN can give certainty and help to hold to account those who are responsible for political crimes. But most of all, it gives all the relatives of missing people the chance to leave the past behind and carry on with their lives.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
QIAGEN raised awareness and committed to continue empowering forensic scientists to tackle specialized, challenging sexual assault investigations with the aim of bringing closure to the survivors.
Sexual assault victims often do not get the necessary closure due to the lack of informative and conclusive results from challenging DNA evidence. Issues related to DNA mixtures, degraded and low levels of DNA, PCR inhibitors, and even available laboratory resources to process samples in a timely manner, can all impede successful completion of necessary casework.
QIAGEN is partnering with forensic scientists worldwide and enabling justice through streamlining sexual assault sample analysis by automating differential extraction on the QIAcube Connect and identifying samples that will succeed using the novel Investigator Casework GO! Kit. Investigators can also improve downstream assay decision making using the Investigator Quantiplex Pro RGQ Kit and confirm the presence of seminal fluid/sperm using the PyroMark Q48 Autoprep.
2019 Application Notes
Scientists continue to find innovative ways to use QIAGEN’s latest products to further their human ID research and casework. Here are just a few studies conducted this year:
The effectiveness of STR Quality Sensors to inform rework strategies and improve STR success of challenging samples
High-throughput sample preparation for forensic casework using the Investigator STAR Lyse&Prep chemistry on the Tecan Freedom EVO automated platform
Increase analysis efficiency and rework of low-quality samples with the automated Quality Sensor flagging in GeneMarkerHID software
Investigator Casework GO! Kit as a novel approach for contact traces and body fluids
Direct amplification and an accelerated workflow in skin flake isolation with the Investigator Casework GO! Kit