Work Package 2

Intercomparison Exercises

Manager: P.Gill

Objectives:

  1. Establishment of generally agreed typing protocols for transnational comparison.
  2. Achievement of reproducible typing results independently from the laboratory equipment available to the participants.
  3. Agreement on technical criteria for DNA profiling systems improving the sectorial harmonization.
  4. Implementation of basic research findings from the field of DNA profiling into routine casework.
  5. Liaison with WP1 for practical recommendations on future research directions and method developments.

 Action:

  1. Select DNA profiling systems to be tested (based on findings from WP1),
  2. at least three intercomparison exercises shall be performed; participation in the last exercise shall be open to laboratories outside the network,
  3. for each exercise, select a laboratory which will be responsible for organizing the exercise and collecting the typing results,
  4. synthesize PCR primers for distribution among the participants,
  5. produce the allelic ladder fragments by PCR amplification for each selected system (dye-labelled and/or unlabelled) (to be carried out by the organizing laboratory or one of the laboratories already familiar with the selected system),
  6. at least five anonymous blood samples plus one control sample (with disclosed genotype) from voluntary donors to be distributed for testing; (usually dried blood stains of 500 ml each on cotton cloth these samples must have been genotyped by the organizing laboratory prior to the exercise without disclosing the results to the participants),
  7. ship the exercise reagents and materials (instructions, PCR primers, Taq polymerase enzyme, allelic ladder aliquots, blood samples including one reference sample with defined genotype) to the participating laboratories,
  8. type the samples received by each participating laboratory,
  9. collect and analyze the submitted data (comparison with the original typing results, compilation of typing methods used and errors observed),
  10. present and discuss the results at the next meeting (the results of the open exercise will be presented at the 5th meeting which shall be open also to participants outside the network),
  11. publish the results of each exercise in a peer-reviewed scientific journal (e.g. "Forensic Science International").
 It is intended that one collaborative exercise should be organized every 6 months beginning the second year of the programme. For each exercise, at least three DNA systems shall be selected.