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Genetically Variant Protein Analysis: A Proteomic-Based Forensic Tool

Traditional mainstays of forensic science that depend on qualitative expert opinion, such as hair and fingerprint analysis, are being challenged as lacking a scientific and statistical basis. These challenges, leading to questions of admissibility of this type of evidence in current cases and validity of previous convictions, are casting doubt on current forensic practices. The shortcomings of these qualitative methods not only undermine the criminal justice system, but also increase resistance to their use in the broader national security community. DNA typing stands out as an exception because it is quantifiable and has sound scientific footing. Use of DNA, however, is limited when the sample has degraded or when there are multiple contributors. Protein can serve as a surrogate for DNA in these cases and provide an alternative quantifiable analysis strategy. LLNL has developed the scientific and statistical basis for forensic use of genetically variant peptides (GVP) analysis and to extend the concept into other forensic and intelligence contexts. LLNL has also developed strategies to track individuals, even against a complex background of many individuals, using GVPs related to ultra-rare variants.
Patent Abstract: 
LLNL has developed specific technical approaches and methods to obtain proteomic information from various human tissue types (hair, skin, teeth, bone). These processes have been developed to maximize proteomic information recovery using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry methods.
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
35517
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