Catherine Grgicak

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Interpretation of DNA evidence depends upon the ability of the analyst to accurately compare the DNA profile obtained from an item of evidence and the DNA profile of a standard. This interpretation becomes progressively more difficult as the number of 'drop-out' and 'drop-in' events increase. Analytical thresholds (AT) are typically selected to ensure the(More)
During the course of conventional testing of CODIS standards at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, a sample with a heterozygous null genotype at D13S317 was discovered using the PowerPlex 1.1 kit (Promega, Madison, WI). The loss of both alleles was confirmed when the sample was amplified using PowerPlex 1.2 primers and resulted in a 9, 10 genotype(More)
Determining appropriate analytical thresholds (ATs) for forensic DNA analysis is critical to maximize allele detection. In this study, six methods to determine ATs for forensic DNA purposes were examined and compared. Four of the methods rely on analysis of the baseline noise of a number of negatives, while two utilize the relationship between relative(More)
Repetitive sequences in the human genome called short tandem repeats (STRs) are used in human identification for forensic purposes. Interpretation of DNA profiles generated using STRs is often problematic because of uncertainty in the number of contributors to the sample. Existing methods to identify the number of contributors work on the number of peaks(More)
Reproducibility of quantitative PCR results is dependent on the generation of consistent calibration curves via accurate volume transfers and instrument performance. A review of 14 standard curves, using two different QuantDuo® standard DNA lots, showed variability of cycle threshold values between assays were larger than those of the Internal PCR Control(More)
Biological fluid identification is an important facet of evidence examination in forensic laboratories worldwide. While identifying bodily fluids may provide insight into which downstream DNA methods to employ, these screening techniques consume a vital portion of the available evidence, are usually qualitative, and rely on visual interpretation. In(More)
There are three dominant contributing factors that distort short tandem repeat profile measurements, two of which, stutter and variations in the allelic peak heights, have been described extensively. Here we characterise the remaining component, baseline noise. A probabilistic characterisation of the non-allelic noise peaks is not only inherently useful for(More)
Biological evidence may contain any number of cells in any proportion. Extreme low-template DNA samples are often very difficult to interpret due to complex signal or peaks which may be indistinguishable from baseline noise. Current solutions focus on increasing the amount of amplicon detected by adjusting PCR cycle number or capillary electrophoresis(More)
Impacts of validation design on DNA signal were explored, and the level of variation introduced by injection, capillary changes, amplification, and kit lot was surveyed by examining a set of replicate samples ranging in mass from 0.25 to 0.008 ng. The variations in peak height, heterozygous balance, dropout probabilities, and baseline noise were compared(More)
iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Catherine Grgicak for all of her help throughout this project and writing this thesis. All of the time that she spent troubleshooting with me was invaluable. Her encouragement and willingness to find time in her busy schedule to meet with me so often has helped me enormously throughout my time at Boston University.(More)