Short tandem repeat (STR) data analysis and interpretation in forensic DNA casework relies on an analyst’s professional judgment and expertise. Procedures for analysis and interpretation are based on validation studies, published literature, population studies, and casework experience. Laboratory interpretation procedures are not meant to cover every situation but rather to establish a minimum standard for the interpretation of analytical results. Documented procedures contribute to objectivity and consistency and ensure that the conclusions drawn in casework are scientifically supported by analytical data.
A number of factors can introduce ambiguity into the analysis and interpretation process. Analysts must be able to identify and troubleshoot these ambiguities and understand their implications.
Upon successful completion of this unit of instruction, the student shall be able to:
- List commonly used STR data interpretation parameters.
- Explain thresholds, spurious peaks, pull-up, stutter, microvariants, degradation, stochastic effects, allele drop out, mutations, controls used in troubleshooting STR data.
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