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FaSTR™ DNA Now Available Commercially to Forensic, Research Community

Used with STRmix™, software enables rapid analysis of DNA profiles

by STRmix
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FaSTR™ DNA, expert forensic software that rapidly analyzes DNA profiles and can assign a Number of Contributors (NoC) estimate, is now available commercially.

The wider release of FaSTR™ DNA to the forensic and education/research community comes six months after its early phase release to select users of STRmix™, sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret. FaSTR™ DNA seamlessly integrates with STRmix™ (when in use) for even greater speed and efficiency in analysis and interpretation of complex mixed DNA profiles.

Created by the same team that created STRmix™, FaSTR™ DNA expedites the analysis of raw data generated by genetic analyzers and standard profiling kits. It does this by combining an intuitive, user-friendly graphical interface with easily understandable and laboratory-customizable rules.

FaSTR™ DNA also implements the optional use of artificial neural networks (ANN) for peak classification independent of, and in parallel to, the forensic analyst.

“We are really pleased to be launching FaSTR™ DNA today, having incorporated user feedback into this major release,” explains Dr Meng-Han Lin, senior scientist, STRmix Team. “We believe that the sophisticated user interface and comprehensive feature set will be very attractive to users looking to increase the efficiency and speed of STR profiling analysis.”

Recognizing the need for speed, accuracy, and simplicity, particular attention has been paid in developing FaSTR™ DNA to simplifying the analysis procedure. Doing so enables reliable results to be achieved with minimum effort.

 FaSTR™ DNA works by applying a set of fully configurable rules to analyze most DNA profiles automatically. In some instances, DNA analysis is more complex and automated heuristics (analysis rules) alone may not be able to resolve all profiles. Where the intervention of a DNA analyst is required, FaSTR™ DNA readily provides all details related to possible ambiguity of a peak (i.e. stutter type, stutter ratio, composite stutter, pull-up proportion, N/shoulder peak, peak morphology, low homozygote, heterozygote imbalance) and signals a requirement for the DNA analyst to make a decision. It then records and highlights changes made by the analyst. 

Some new features in this version of FaSTR™ DNA include: control genotype concordance checking; improved ladder quality assessment; the detection and filtering/flagging of composite stutters using allele-specific stutter ratios; and the ability to customize stochastic homozygote thresholds per dye color.

The algorithms used for analysis in FaSTR™ DNA are conceptually adapted from the proven approach of OSIRIS DNA (National Center for Biotechnology Information).