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SWGDAM Committees

Please click here for a current listing of SWGDAM Committee participants.

 

In accordance with the SWGDAM Bylaws, Section V, the SWGDAM Body is
organized into Committees that concentrate on different substantive areas
of forensic DNA analysis related to the support of the FBI’s National Quality
Assurance Standards and National DNA Index System (NDIS) Operational
Procedures.  Over the years, SWGDAM has had many standing Committees

in subject areas such as Quality Assurance and CODIS and has convened

other Working Groups, Committees of Correspondence, or other ad hoc groups

as needed to discuss specific topic areas that have arisen within the forensic

DNA testing community.  All SWGDAM Committees, etc. are empanelled and tasked

by the SWGDAM Chair and any work adopted by SWGDAM is shared via SWGDAM.org. 

Current SWGDAM Committees and other Working Groups include:

 

Autosomal STR Committee 

The Autosomal STR (STR) Committee is a standing committee tasked to identify, evaluate, and research issues related to the analysis interpretation, and reporting of autosomal STR analysis methods by forensic DNA testing laboratories. The chair of this Committee is Joel Sutton of USACIL/DFSC and the vice chair is Bruce Heidebrecht of the Maryland State Police.

Tasks

  • The STR Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the SWGDAM Interpretation Guidelines for Autosomal STR Typing for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories.
     

  • The STR Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the FBI’s Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) and/or NDIS Operational Procedures Manual for the consideration of SWGDAM.

 

CODIS Committee

This CODIS Committee is a standing committee tasked to identify, evaluate, and research issues relating to the use of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) in federal, state, and local forensic laboratories. The chair of this committee is Darrel Oubre of the FBI Laboratory and the vice chair is Deedra Hughes of the Mississippi Crime Laboratory.

Tasks

  • The CODIS Committee will discuss topics related to the use of CODIS by law enforcement laboratories conducting forensic DNA testing.
     

  • The CODIS Committee will review issues relating to the operation of CODIS such as software functionality and performance as requested by the FBI Laboratory.
     

  • The CODIS Committee will review issues submitted by the NDIS Procedures Board as received and develop responses for the consideration of SWGDAM.

 

Laboratory Operations Committee

The Laboratory Operations Committee is tasked to identify, evaluate, and research issues related to the efficient generation of high-quality DNA testing data by forensic laboratories in compliance with all FBI National QAS and NDIS Operational Procedure requirements. The chair of this Committee is Lisa Schiermeier-Wood of the Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences and the vice chair is Amber Carr of the FBI Laboratory.

Tasks

  • The Laboratory Operations Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the
    SWGDAM Contamination Prevention and Detection Guidelines for Forensic DNA Laboratories,
    SWGDAM Recommendations for the Efficient DNA Processing of Sexual Assault Evidence Kits,
    SWGDAM Guidelines for the Validation of Probabilistic Genotyping Systems,
    SWGDAM Guidelines for the Collection and Serological Examination of Biological Evidence,
    SWGDAM Guidelines for STR Enhanced Detection Methods, and
    SWGDAM Validation Guidelines for Forensic DNA Analysis Methods.
     

  • The Laboratory Operations Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the FBI’s Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) and/or NDIS Operational Procedures Manual for the consideration of SWGDAM.

 

Lineage Marker Committee

The Lineage Marker Committee is a standing committee tasked to identify, evaluate, and research issues relating to the analysis interpretation, and reporting of forensic mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome testing data. The chair of this committee is currently Dixie Peters of the University of North Texas and the vice chair is Ann Marie Gross of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

 

Tasks

  • The Lineage Marker Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the:
    SWGDAM Mitochondrial DNA Analysis Interpretation Guidelines,
    SWGDAM Mitochondrial DNA Nomenclature Examples,
    SWGDAM Guidelines for Missing Persons Casework, and
    SWGDAM Interpretation Guidelines for Y-chromosome STR Typing.
     

  • The Lineage Marker Committee will provide guidance for the identification, categorization, and interpretation of mixed Y-chromosome STR typing results.

 

Quality Assurance Committee

The Quality Assurance (QA) Committee is a standing committee tasked to identify, evaluate, and research issues relating to monitoring and maintaining the quality of DNA testing results in forensic laboratories. The chair of this Committee is Jocelyn Carlson of the FBI Laboratory and the vice chair is Beth Ann Marne of the Pennsylvania State Police. 

Tasks

  • The QA Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the SWGDAM Training Guidelines.
     

  • The QA Committee will recommend revisions and/or additions, as necessary, to the SWGDAM QAS Clarification Document which provides supplemental guidance for specific standards and is intended to assist laboratories and auditors to better understand the objective(s) of a given standard and its application to a specific situation(s).
     

  • The QA Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the FBI’s Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) and/or NDIS Operational Procedures Manual for the consideration of SWGDAM.
     

  • The QA Committee serves as the primary body for reviewing the FBI’s Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) on behalf of SWGDAM and for the incorporation of proposed changes to the QAS recommended by other SWGDAM Committees.​

 

Next Generation Sequencing Committee

The Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Committee is a standing committee tasked to identify, evaluate, and research issues relating to the forensic applications of next generation sequencing. The chair of this working group is Jodi Irwin of the FBI Laboratory and Katherine Gettings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

 

Tasks

  • The NGS Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the SWGDAM Interpretation Guidelines for Autosomal STR Typing for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories.
     

  • The NGS Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the SWGDAM Mitochondrial DNA Analysis Interpretation Guidelines

  • The NGS Committee will monitor the potential forensic applications of NGS and make regular reports to SWGDAM.
     

  • The NGS Committee will generate and review performance data using forensic NGS applications and make regular reports to SWGDAM.
     

  • The NGS Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the FBI’s Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) and the NDIS Operational Procedures Manual for the consideration of SWGDAM. 

 

Rapid DNA Committee

The Rapid DNA Committee is a standing committee tasked to identify, evaluate, and research issues relating to the analysis interpretation, and reporting of R-DNA testing data both in the laboratory and the booking environment. The chair of this committee is Richard Wilson of the FBI Laboratory and the vice chair is Pete Vallone of NIST.

 

Tasks

  • The Rapid DNA Committee will discuss topics related to the use of R-DNA by law enforcement agencies both within and outside the laboratory.
     

  • The Rapid DNA Committee will review issues relating to the use of R-DNA technology such as instrument performance, legislative considerations, and pilot testing of software functionality and performance as requested by the FBI Laboratory.
     

  • The R-DNA Committee will review and, as necessary, recommend revisions to the FBI’s Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) and/or NDIS Operational Procedures Manual for the consideration of SWGDAM.

 

Committee of Correspondence:  Forensic Genealogy

SWGDAM has empanelled a Committee of Correspondence on Forensic Genealogy (COC: IG) composed of representatives from SWGDAM, the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI), the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) Biology/DNA Scientific Area Committee (Biology/DNA-SAC), and experts in Forensic Genealogy. Committees of Correspondence are convened by SWGDAM to provide feedback on specific issue(s) within a limited time frame and outside of regular SWGDAM meetings. The COC: IG is Co-chaired by Thomas Callaghan of the FBI Laboratory and John Tonkyn of the California Department of Justice.

 

Tasks

  • The COC: IG will propose a format for, and prepare a draft of, a position statement on forensic genealogy.

 

  • The COC: IG will recommend what, if any, future work SWGDAM should consider on the subject of Forensic Genealogy.

 

Body Fluid Identification Working Group

SWGDAM has empanelled a Body Fluid Identification Working Group (BFIWG) to review and report to SWGDAM on the procedures used for forensic serological testing for reporting and evidence screening. Working Groups are generally convened by SWGDAM to provide feedback on specific issue(s) within a limited time frame and outside of regular SWGDAM meetings. The chair of the BFIWG is Marla Kaplan of the Oregon State Police and the vice chair is Jason Kokoszka of the Alabama Department of Forensic Science.

 

Tasks

  • The BFIWG will review and report to SWGDAM on 1) the current state of forensic serological testing, 2) the next generation of body fluid testing technology, 3) the potential operational value of conventional and future serological testing, 4) the potential integration of both current and future laboratory workflows, and 5) the use of screening techniques to streamline general workflows. 

 

Forensic DNA Casework Expert System Working Group

SWGDAM has empanelled a Forensic DNA Casework Expert System Working Group (FESWG) to explore the potential of developing guidelines for the validation and use of allele calling software as expert systems for the interpretation of forensic DNA casework samples. The FESWG is essentially an extension of the 2005 SWGDAM Expert System Committee that recommended the current expert system requirements that NDIS adopted.  Working Groups are generally convened by SWGDAM to provide feedback on specific issue(s) within a limited time frame and outside of regular SWGDAM meetings. The chair of the FESWG is Amy McGuckian of the Palm Beach County Sheriif’s Office and the vice chair is Tamyra Moretti of the FBI Laboratory.

 

Tasks

  • The FESWG will evaluate the feasibility of using allele calling software tools as expert systems (as defined in the NDIS Operational Procedures) for interpreting forensic casework samples in ways similar to or different from the manner in which these tools are already used by DNA databasing laboratories. 

 

 

Please click here for information regarding the activities of the current SWGDAM Committees.