Interpreting and Reporting Contaminated DNA Profiles

Monday September 23rd, 2019 // 12:00 pm - 4:30 pm // Pueblo

Early Registration (before July 15, 2019)$125
Standard Registration$135

Registration fees include working lunch


Contamination is a fact of life in any DNA testing laboratory. By evaluating the contaminating DNA profile and performing root cause analysis, it is sometimes possible to determine the source of the contaminating DNA (e.g., someone in the chain of custody, another case being worked at the same time). Other times the source of the contaminating DNA cannot be identified. DNA profiles affected by the presence of contaminating DNA may often be interpreted. Attendees will participate in interactive hands-on exercises to evaluate, interpret and draft report wording for affected profiles.


Learning Outcomes:

  1. Learn more about sources of and steps to mitigate contamination
  2. Work through a root cause analysis and corrective action plans for a contamination event
  3. Get hands on experience interpreting and reporting profiles affected by contamination events
  4. Gain a better understanding of legal issues resulting from contamination


Intended Audience:

Analysts (DNA and anyone who handles evidence), QA/QC managers and personnel, Auditors/inspectors, Crime laboratory directors and section managers, attorneys, judges, consultants, academics. No prior knowledge required but an understanding of the DNA testing process and issues with contamination may be helpful.


Charlotte WordChair


Charlotte Word is currently a consultant in Human DNA Identification testing. She has performed technical reviews on many 1000’s of cases from several public and private DNA testing laboratories and has participated in the validation of various DNA test systems.  Charlotte has testified as an expert witness in over 300 trials and admissibility hearings around the country since 1990. 

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Marla Kaplan

DNA Technical Leader, Oregon State Police

Marla Kaplan is the current DNA Technical Leader for the Oregon State Police, having served in that role since 2009. She is qualified in both casework and databasing analyses and has testified in criminal trials, post-conviction matters, and admissibility hearings. She is a member of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) and an invited guest to the Scientific Working Group for DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM).

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