FauxDIS: an Interactive Online Forensic DNA Profile Database
Keywords:DNA database, DNA analysis, CODIS, scientific method, critical thinking
Forensic Science has captured our collective imaginations for generations, whether it be in the medical examiner’s room with Quincy, examining blood spatter with Dexter, or in the crime lab with Forensic Files. With the right tools and applications, we can take advantage of this popularity and use forensic science as a vehicle to teach critical thinking skills and the scientific method, both of which are integral in the collection and analysis of forensic evidence. The forensic scientist makes observations, formulates hypotheses about the probative value of evidence, and tests these educated guesses by submitting crime scene samples to an operational forensic laboratory for analysis. With a DNA profile generated from crime scene evidence, the forensic scientist can conduct direct or indirect database searches in hopes of finding a match and learning the identity of the donor of the questioned sample. The U.S. national DNA database system, CODIS, contains millions of offender DNA profiles, but is use is restricted to authorized operational labs. Therefore, in this report, we introduce the FauxDIS DNA Database, a searchable online DNA profile database that is available to educators for use in experiential exercises such as mock crime scene analysis. The database currently contains autosomal profiles, but can be expanded in the future to contain other marker systems such as Y-chromosome short tandem repeats or massively parallel sequencing data.
Copyright (c) 2021 Ashley Hall
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