SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  DTRA102-007 (DTRA)
Title:  Forensic DNA Analysis Kit for Genetic Intelligence
Research & Technical Areas:  Biomedical

Acquisition Program:  
 The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 3.5.b.(7) of the solicitation.
  Objective:  Develop a Forensic DNA Analysis Kit for Genetic Intelligence that can be used on unknown human DNA samples collected from the battlefield to provide information about the individual who deposited the sample, such as potential ethnicity, height, eye color, hair color, age, sex, and/or facial features. The kit should leverage Short Tandem Repeats (STR), Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP), mitochondrial DNA, or next generation sequencing technology. It should also be able to operate on existing commercial technology platforms.
  Description:  Human forensic DNA analysis is routinely performed on materials of interest collected from incident sites or swabs obtained from known individuals. This analysis typically uses commercially available Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) kits to generate a DNA profile for the purposes of matching that DNA profile against another DNA profile to establish a potential connection or identity. Forensic DNA analysis has the ability to provide crucial information on individuals who may have built or had contact with IED’s or other potential Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The ability to match an unknown DNA profile obtained from post blast IEDs and objects/containers involved in WMD activities can provide significant insight into who may have manufactured or transported the device, and what agents it may contain. If one is unable to match a DNA profile against an existing database to determine identity, then generating intelligence from this unknown DNA sample has tremendous probative value. The ability to determine the potential ethnicity, height, eye color, hair color, age, sex or facial features from this unknown human DNA profile can be used by commanders and warfighters to increase their situational awareness and enhance their battle management capabilities. The end product should be a Forensic DNA Analysis Kit that includes all critical reagents and operating procedures/methodologies required to generate genetic intelligence information such as, but not limited to, potential ethnicity, height, eye color, hair color, age, sex or facial features that can provide probative information on the potential source of the genetic material. The kit may use Short Tandem Repeats (STR), Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP), mitochondrial DNA, or next generation sequencing technology and must be able to operate on existing commercial technology platforms. The kit may be used by existing forensic DNA analysis laboratories. Current technologies such as liquid handlers, thermal cyclers, and genetic analyzers/sequencers provide the hardware/technology platform required to process genetic material however a comprehensive genetic intelligence marker and reagent kit that can be run on this platform has yet to be developed. A kit that contains all critical reagents and allows testing for numerous different genetic intelligence markers that is easily integrated into existing laboratory processes would be an advancement that enables more robust use of this capability. The genetic markers that are incorporated into the kit should have sound scientific studies that support their validity. The more useful genetic intelligence markers that can be incorporated into a single kit, using a single type of marker such as SNPs, the more likely that kit will be adopted for use.

  PHASE I: Develop a proof-of-concept plan for a Forensic DNA Analysis Kit for Genetic Intelligence that tests for genetic intelligence traits such as ethnicity, height, eye color, hair color, age, sex or facial features of interest using commercially available analysis processes.
  PHASE II: Develop one complete Forensic DNA Analysis Kit for Genetic Intelligence that tests for numerous genetic intelligence traits and demonstrate the use of that kit on both known and unknown human DNA samples.

  PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The proposed kit may be useful for state and local forensic DNA analysis laboratories with DNA samples from unsolved crimes.

  References:   President’s DNA Initiative (www.dna.gov), Research on Alternative Genetic Markers: http://www.dna.gov/research/alternative_markers/ The U.S. Department of Defense New Idea Portal, DoD Needs in Battlefield Forensics, http://www.defensesolutions.gov/needs_BF.html

Keywords:  forensic, DNA, STR, SNP, crime scene, intelligence, genetics

Questions and Answers:
Q: Will the awardee have access to a lab for demonstrations and testing?
A: No. The demonstrations and testing will occur at the awardee's facilities, however the right to test at government facilities will be reserved.
Q: Is there any imaging or software program requirement for facial recognition?
A: No. Nothing has been designated.
Q: 1. Does the analysis have to happen 'in the field' or can it happen in the lab?
2. What is the expected turn-around time?
A: 1. Does the analysis have to happen 'in the field' or can it happen in the lab?
A: While the analysis can happen in the lab, the capability to have it 'in the field' is a big plus due to the DoD mission. The core of this SBIR is the ability to produce the genetic intelligence information, but a further discriminator for proposals will be the ability to carry out the analysis at the scene or in the vicinity. The use of mobile labs is a possibility also.

2. What is the expected turn-around time?
A: There is currently no expected turn-around time, but balancing the results with the speed will be factored into the evaluation. Currently, it takes weeks to get DNA results.
Q: What resources, if any, are provided?
A: None are provided per the topic. However, resources that you may need to be provided by the government should be included in the proposal and will be evaluated.

Record: of