Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the ParaDNA® System?
A: Each ParaDNA System is made up of four components; selected instrument head, sample collector, software and test. Users select which system they wish to run on an instrument head by selecting the appropriate software application, they then sample and run the test as directed by the user manual. Each ParaDNA System has been designed to offer a simple, fast and reliable way to rapidly prioritise forensic samples, identify the presence/absence of individuals, or identify certain bodily fluids. Users can improve submissions success rates and gain immediate investigational intelligence, supporting effective allocation of investigative personnel and a more immediate investigational outcomes.
Q: Can exhibits/items and swabs sampled with a ParaDNA Sample Collector be used for further testing?
A: The ParaDNA Sample Collector only removes a tiny fraction of the DNA from the swab/item of interest and so these can be retained for further processing if desired. For more information, click here.
Q: What ParaDNA Instruments are currently available?
A: There are two ParaDNA Instruments available:
- The Field Portable Instrument is for use in-field, at scene or in submissions units/crime labs and incorporates a built in touch screen computer and lithium ion batteries
- The Screening Instrument is designed to be used in submissions units or laboratory environments alongside a laptop computer.
Q: What ParaDNA Test options are currently available?
A: The currently available tests are the ParaDNA Screening Test and the ParaDNA Intelligence Test but the ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test is also available to early access users. All tests utilize sensitive and rapid HyBeaconTM
probe technology which requires very little DNA starting material.
- The ParaDNA Screening Test provides a percentage score result to indicate the quality of the sample being tested and the likelihood of going on to generate a meaningful STR result.
- The ParaDNA Intelligence Test can provide a 5 STR and Amelogenin profile alongside a percentage score to create early investigative leads.
- The ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test will soon be commercially available and is capable of simultaneously screening for six body fluids in a single test.
Q: How do ParaDNA Tests detect target?
A: Each test option uses LGC’s proprietary HyBeacons™ fluorescent probes which have been designed to target specific DNA (e.g. forensic STRs) or body fluid markers. When probes bind to any complementary amplified target they fluoresce. The characteristic temperature at which probes melt away from their target sequence can then be used to charcterise any amplified product via the associated measured change in fluoresence.
- When the ParaDNA Screening Test application is selected, the software is able to determine if DNA is present (%DNA score) and the gender of the contributor.
- When the ParaDNA Intelligence Test application is selected, the system is able to determine the allele designations for five target loci and amelogenin. The result delivers a DNA profile that can easily be compared to others on the system to support sample prioritisation or to assess any matches with other profiles.
- When the ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test application is selected, the system is able to determine the presence if up to six bodily fluids. This test targets specific RNA molecules (that code for proteins).
Find out more about Hybeacons™ probes here.
Q: Are all ParaDNA Tests compatible with all of the instruments?
A: All 3 test options can be run on any of the available instruments. Furthermore, users can run different test types on the instrument simultaneously using the 4 independent heads.
Q: What is the ParaDNA Field Portable Instrument?
A: The ParaDNA Field Portable Instrument is a fully integrated DNA profiling system, with 4 independent test heads housed in a moulded ruggedized waterproof case. The instrument contains an integrated Windows PC, and touch-screen monitor with on-board Lithium Ion power packs. This instrument can be operated in the lab or field based environments. The operating temperature range for a Field Portable Instrument is 5°C to 40°C (maximum temperature during battery recharge is 30°C), in an operating humidity range of 0% to 95%.
Q: What are the dimensions of the ParaDNA Field Portable Instrument?
A: The instrument size is 56.5 x 37.5 x 24.1 cm (l x w x h) and weighs 17kg. The case includes built-in wheels, plus pull and lifting handle for ease of transport. To download the full specifications, please click here
Q: What is the ParaDNA Screening Instrument?
A: The ParaDNA Screening Instrument is a desktop instrument that requires a computer to be connected and a standard mains power supply. This instrument should be operated indoors within a temperature range of 5°C to 35°C, and a humidity range of 0% to 80%.
Q: What are the dimensions of the ParaDNA Screening Instrument?
A: The LGC ParaDNA Instrument is 39 x 29 x 19 cm (l x w x h) in size and 6kg in weight (not including laptop). To download the full specifications, please click here.
Q: Who can operate ParaDNA Instruments?
A: The simplistic design and ease of use of each ParaDNA System means they can be operated by both scientific and non-scientific personnel who have undergone the short training course (normally in one to two days). Our studies have shown there is no significant difference in performance observed between expert and novice users.
ParaDNA Screening Test
Q: What is the ParaDNA Screening Test?
A: The ParaDNA Screening Test is an effective tool for improving sample screening/prioritisation by increasing submissions success rates, and reducing the requirement for costly lab processing of needless samples. It takes just 75 minutes to screen samples to gain a rapid understanding of whether subsequent DNA profiling is likely to deliver a useful result.
Q: How does the ParaDNA Screening Test work?
A: The test provides a relative quantitative assessment of the amount of DNA in a sample, and where enough DNA is present, will indicate if it is predominantly male or female in origin. Within 75 minutes users can prioritize evidence to ensure samples with the best chance of success are submitted. The test uses patented HyBeacon Probe technology to target human specific STRs.
Q: How are the results displayed?
A: The results will be displayed as a percentage score (relative quantitative assessment of DNA) and a gender call. The percentage score will have a green background if DNA is detected and a red background if no DNA is detected.
Q: What samples can be processed using the ParaDNA Screening Test?
A: A variety of DNA sources can be targeted using this system including blood, saliva, touch and semen samples. Most commonly recovered evidence items can be sampled directly e.g. blood stains, drinking vessels, cigarette butts or items of clothing. Indirect sampling approaches (sub-sampling from a swab) also work well for most sample types and only remove a tiny fraction of available material.
Q: How ParaDNA Screening Test results best utilised?
A: ParaDNA Screening Test results can be used for screening evidence recovered from either volume crime cases, such as burglaries, or major/more serious crime cases such as murders/homicides. Improved sample selection leads to enhanced, more cost effective submissions policies and quicker investigational outcomes, whilst supporting the reduction of evidence backlogs.
ParaDNA Intelligence Test
Q: What is the ParaDNA Intelligence Test?
A: The ParaDNA Intelligence Test delivers DNA profile information to users within 75 minutes of processing samples with no prior sample preparation. Users can directly search and compare the generated DNA profiles with an easy-to-use onboard database and accompanying ParaDNA Software. Alternatively, additional profiles or 'watchlists' can be imported onto the software, or the data can be exported for off-system searches.
Q: How does the ParaDNA Intelligence Test work?
A: The test uses patented HyBeacon probe technology to target human specific STRs commonly found in all human identification kits. The 5 STRs targeted by this test are D3S1358 (D3), D16S539 (D16), TH01, D8S1179 (D8) and D18S51 (D18). Amelogenin, the gender determining marker, is also targeted as part of this test.
Q: How are the results displayed?
A: The obtained DNA profile will be shown (including Amelogenin) alongside a percentage score (relative quantitative assessment of DNA) with a green or red background. The ParaDNA Intelligence Test is also able to detect whether a mixture is present.
Q: What samples can be processed using the ParaDNA Intelligence Test?
A: Most commonly recovered evidence items can be processed using this test including drinking vessels, clothing, blood stains etc. A variety of DNA sources can be targeted using this system including blood, saliva, touch and semen samples. Reference buccal swabs can also be processed using the ParaDNA Intelligence Test for inclusion/exclusion purposes during an investigation.
Q: How can you utilise the results?
A: The ParaDNA Intelligence Test can be used to accelerate investigations by providing early data to make informed decisions on samples to send for full DNA analysis. Generated DNA profile can also be used to quickly include or eliminate potential suspects in an investigation by searching against internal/external databases via secure data export/import. This approach can contribute to a reduction in forensic spend by making more targeted submissions, and allowing for resources to be focused on the best investigative leads.
ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test
Q: What is the ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test?
A: The ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test delivers a presence/absence result on 6 body fluids within 90 minutes of processing samples. A next-gen serology option that can be used as either a screening test, or as a confirmatory result. The 6 body fluids screened for are saliva, peripheral blood, menstrual blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid and sperm cells.
Q: How does the ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test work?
A: Specific mRNA molecules that code for different proteins found exlcusively in each body fluid are analysed by the ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test. The mRNAs are converted into DNA which is then analysed using patented HyBeacon probe technology.
Q: How are the results displayed?
A: The results are shown as a simple green tick or red cross for the presence or absence of each body fluid.
Q: What samples can be processed using the ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test?
A: Most commonly recovered evidence items can be processed using this test including clothing and fabrics. Additionally, the ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test is the first commercially available kit to offer a reliable test for vaginal fluid. The test can also be used with extracted DNA (protocol dependent).
Q: How can you utilise the results?
A: The ParaDNA Body Fluid ID Test is a next-gen serology option that can be used as either a screening test, or as a confirmatory result, to begin identifying fluids and help reconstruct events at a crime scene. The results can also aid triage of samples prior to sending for further analysis (e.g. STR profiling), helping to improve submissions rates and increase cost savings.