Decision support for detection and collection of biological traces for genetic and criminal identification purposes – BioTrack
BioTrack: decision support for the detection and collection of biological traces for genetic and criminal identification purposes.
Touch DNA Traces left at the crime scene by offenders when touching an object, are widely collected to be analyzed for judiciary purposes. However, DNA profiles with a good quality are obtained for only about 30% of these samples. The main explanation for this huge loss of information is an insufficient amount of DNA recovered for the analysis.
To make visible invisible DNA traces and optimize their collection and analysis for human identification by DNA profiling.
The Biotrack program aims at gaining insight into the biology of touch DNA and to improve the success rate of DNA profiling. The biotrack hypothesis is that the pre-analytical steps, more precisely the detection and collection of the touch DNA samples as well as the release of the biological material collected and the recovery of its DNA, deserve improvements. Biotrack program aims to optimize procedures and to develop decision support tools. The specific objectives are:<br />- to improve the knowledge on the composition and characteristics of touch DNA samples.<br />- to develop in vitro models of touch DNA samples.<br />- to improve the success rate of touch DAN samples analysis by: (i) developing new methods, tools and embedded devices to detect samples (zone of interest) at the crime scene, from the fundamental investigation of molecular markers expression on shedded, desiccated, fragmented cells; (ii) setting-up and optimizing standardized collection procedure, from the analysis of parameters governing interactions between biological material and substrates; (iii) finding optimal combinations of collection devices and DNA extraction protocols in order to minimize the loss of DNA; (iv) developing a decision-support tool allowing to find the best combination of parameters to maximize the probability to get a conclusive DNA profile according to the characteristics of the sample and the substrate.<br />- to provide best practices and training for the analysis of touch DNA samples.<br />- to manage knowledge transfer and communication including scientific vulgarization.<br /><br />This will also significantly reduce the investigation time and cost of forensic DNA analysis by reducing the number of negative touch DNA samples.
In order to achieve these objectives, the collaborative Biotrack program between Switzerland and France combines a set of academic partners with knowledge in cell biology and biological interactions with biotic or abiotic surfaces, as well as genetic and forensic scientists.
Societies face to contexts of insecurity. Reliable and timely information are a challenge in characterizing threats. So, among found traces, analysis of biological traces (DNA) is relevant. The majority of on-site taken samples are “blind-samples” taken from supports, which are the most likely to harbour biological traces left by contact of an individual’s body part (“touch DNA”). However, the poor efficiency in getting informative DNA profile from such samples (about 30%) is a major hurdle. As DNA analyses are very sensitive (from few cells), it could ensue from upstream unsatisfactory steps, for example insufficient biological material collection. BioTrack bases on a crosscutting approach between fundamental research, applied look and end-users validation. It aims at improving the pre-analytical steps of DNA analysis, i.e detection, collection and recovery of biological traces, aided by decision-support tools, to increase the chance of getting informative profiles form touch DNA.
Monsieur Francis Hermitte (Institut de Recherche Criminelle de la Gendarmerie Nationale / Division Criminalistique Biologie Génétique)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
IRCGN/PJGN Institut de Recherche Criminelle de la Gendarmerie Nationale / Division Criminalistique Biologie Génétique
ZIFM Cordula Haas
EADN Ecole de l'ADN / Christian SIATKA
CLOTHO AI SASU
ERRMECE Equipe de Recherche sur les Relations Matrice Extracellulaire Cellules
UGF Centre universitaire romand de médecine légale / Unité de génétique forensique
Help of the ANR 887,908 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2022 - 48 Months