DNA Workgroup (DNAWG)

The main focus of the DNAWG has been the enhancement of service quality through strengthening cooperation amongst member institutes. The AFSN Inter-Laboratory DNA Collaborative Exercise is one of the best examples that demonstrate the strong collaboration within the network. The Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Singapore organised the first inter-laboratory exercise in 2015, which aimed to compare the efficiencies of the DNA extraction systems among the participating institutes. The second inter-laboratory exercise was held a few months later to compare the mixture interpretation approaches and statistical methods used by the laboratories. The participants were asked to interpret electropherograms of mixtures with 2 to 3 contributors with their own guidelines, make comparison against the reference profiles and provide information on the match statistics. HSA prepared a report which included recommendations and suggestions by Professor Bruce Budowle to address the variation in mixture interpretation and statistical approaches observed in the exercise. The third inter-laboratory exercise in 2016 was a comparative study of the system robustness, in which participants were provided with dried DNA samples for quantitation, amplification, detection and separation as well as profile interpretation. The results of the exercise elucidated that the laboratories possessed robust testing capabilities and improvement had been made to mixture interpretation approaches as there was less variation as compared to the second exercise. The objective of the fourth inter-laboratory exercise which began in April 2017 was to determine the effectiveness of Y-STR testing in the detection of male DNA at varied mixture ratios and the results will be presented at the AFSN Annual Meeting in September 2017. The AFSN Inter-Laboratory DNA Collaborative Exercise has been attracting a rising number of participants – 14 laboratories from 8 countries for the fourth exercise, and will continue to improve the testing quality of member institutes through process benchmarking.