Answers integrated for you
For forensic DNA laboratories, data management and analysis are daunting tasks requiring numerous procedural steps and complex decision making. As a result, many laboratories rely heavily on their software systems to effectively manage their day-to-day laboratory operations.
Now you can streamline disjointed forensic data management workflows with Applied Biosystems Converge Software, a comprehensive forensic analysis platform that adapts to the way you work.
Converge software offers streamlined solutions for next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of short tandem repeat (STR) markers, CE to NGS comparisons of STR profiles, kinship and paternity testing, and case management.
Designed to increase the efficiency of forensic and relationship DNA testing laboratories, the system is highly configurable to fit specific laboratory workflows, not only for analysis parameters, but also for incorporation of data fields according to your laboratory’s standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Forensic laboratories can also integrate with an existing laboratory information management system (LIMS) using service-oriented architecture integration points that are built into Converge software.
Designed to centralize all data management operations, such as analysis, reporting, and storage, Converge software offers an all-inclusive, validated platform that elevates data processing efficiency. It’s also highly customizable to meet your lab’s needs, providing you with answers—integrated.
“ I have been waiting a long time for a software solution that integrates data management, analysis, and interpretation. Converge software, the newest tool for forensic genetic analyses, is a boon to our field.”
—Bruce Budowle, Institute of Applied Genetics, UNTHSC
Forensic scientists can now take advantage of Converge software’s easy-to-use interface and highly flexible capabilities to optimize data creation, analysis, storage, and reporting.
- Analyze next-generation sequencing data from the Applied Biosystems Precision ID NGS System
- Demonstrate concordance between CE and NGS profiles
- Streamline kinship and paternity analysis using CE or NGS profiles
- Centralize forensic data and analysis, and case information in one place to help increase lab efficiency
- Customize information architecture, data inputs, and parameters to meet the needs of your laboratory
With the recent advances in next-generation sequencing, crime laboratories are now able to analyze targeted and forensically relevant markers to generate investigative leads and help determine the number of contributors in a mixture analysis. The application of NGS is particularly helpful with degraded samples that may not provide a full profile using traditional capillary electrophoresis (CE)–based methods.
Easily compare NGS and CE profile data
As forensic laboratories begin to adopt sequence analysis of STR markers into casework applications, validation and concordance studies will be required. Using both the NGS Analysis module and the Case Management module of Converge Software allows for easy comparison of NGS and capillary electrophoresis profiles.
Kinship and Paternity Analysis
Utilizing validated algorithms, Converge software’s Kinship and Paternity module offers laboratories the ability to conduct various types of relationship testing in a fraction of the time as compared to current methods. Users can quickly create a variety of hypotheses with easy-to-use pedigree tree–drawing capabilities and a set of comprehensive analysis parameters, including mutation model and population substructure.
The Converge NGS analysis module is required to generate profiles from the Applied Biosystems Precision ID GlobalFiler NGS STR Panel v2. The HID STR genotyper functionality provides discriminatory information on STR allele call, STR sequence motif, known SNPs in flanking regions, and isometric heterozygotes (alleles of the same fragment length but containing different sequences). These additional sources of allelic diversity may be useful in both mixture analysis and kinship interpretation.
With an interface that is similar to Applied Biosystems GeneMapper ID-X Software, forensic DNA analysts will be able to quickly evaluate data using familiar Process Quality Values (PQV) and flags such as allele number (AN), off-ladder allele (OL), peak height ratio (PHR), below stochastic threshold (BST) and control concordance (CC). Preconfigured analysis settings are provided within the NGS module and may be modified by the laboratory as needed. Additionally, full auditing functionality is included for chain of custody requirements.
Underlying the centralization of data creation, analysis, and storage to one easy-to-access location, the Converge Case Management module supports case, subject, genotype profile, and laboratory data management. It also allows for automated data transfer between various forensic DNA laboratory systems and efficient management of daily operations.
The module serves the needs of various users such as laboratory managers and analysts, providing intuitive data views and reports that are configurable to the needs of each user and preserved for that user’s login. These features are easily accessible through a secured web browser under the protection of a laboratory’s IT department. The information management configurability allows the user to focus on pertinent information and adapts to a laboratory’s specific needs by enabling the addition of new data fields. Case data management includes metadata related to the case, subjects, DNA profiles, and attachments, with extensive data fields available to track all required information. Ideal for quickly reviewing case status and accessing case reports, the Case Dashboard functionality allows for an at-a-glance overview of the case. Extensive search and filtering capabilities on many data elements allow for faster access to relevant information, saving time and effort. Once performed, searches can be saved and viewed at a later date. Cases can also be exported for external sharing and storage and can be imported back as needed. Archiving cases can be scheduled or performed manually, allowing closed cases to be removed from the active dashboard. Should the need arise, archived cases can always be retrieved in the Case Dashboard.
The Case Details feature presents all case information in one view and allows access to case metadata such as case ID, requesting organization, description, priority, status, creation date, and owner. Added functionality allows the user to create and manage subjects through extensive subject details, capturing all necessary information that is saved, tracked, and retrieved. Subject details include, but are not limited to, name, date of birth, ethnicity, address, phone number, and government-issued identification. Additionally, exported DNA profi les from the NGS analysis module and GeneMapper ID-X software can be imported and stored in Converge software. The DNA profile along with its metadata, including the kit used to generate the data, is preserved. Multiple profiles utilizing different chemistry kits can be generated and associated with the same subject. Lastly, the attachments feature allows users to easily upload fi les like pictures, Microsoft™ Word™ documents, and Microsoft™ Excel™ fi les, organizing all case information in one location.
Kinship and paternity testing can provide challenges in both the sheer volume of cases to be analyzed, as well as the complexity of laboratory workflows and statistical analyses being performed. The Converge Kinship and Paternity module offers a comprehensive set of parameters to perform analysis, allowing laboratories to conduct various types of relationship testing in a fraction of the time as compared to current methods.
The Kinship and Paternity module incorporates data from GeneMapper ID-X Software or from the Converge NGS analysis of Precision ID GlobalFiler NGS STR Panel v2 that contains 32 multiallelic STR markers, including Penta D and Penta E, and sex determination markers. Converge software identifies and processes Trio Paternity, Trio Maternity, Duo Fatherless, and Duo Motherless kinship tests by automatically creating cases, adding subjects and profiles, running analyses, and generating reports. Users can quickly and easily create a variety of hypotheses by drawing pedigree trees and setting comprehensive analysis parameters, including application of mutation models and population substructures. It also allows for genetic likelihood ratio calculations, as well as the generation of reports for any complex relationship analysis. These analyses are conducted utilizing validated algorithms.
Through an intuitive user interface, analysts can easily review detailed results, as well as generate and electronically sign reports in a few simple steps. Converge software provides one default report template; however, laboratories can use existing tools to modify this template and adjust the report to their desired format. For trio and duo testing in paternity and maternity cases, Quick Kinship Analysis (KA) functionality from the Case Dashboard integrates all of these steps on one screen, saving time within the laboratory.
Complex analysis parameters used in kinship analysis require validation in order to determine the appropriate settings for the thresholds governing the data interpretation. Therefore, it is important that the software be tested using a variety of samples that challenge each different relationship-testing scenario. Although default settings are suggested within the software, these should be adjusted based on the outcome of each laboratory’s internal evaluation of Converge software. Optimizing any software will require an additional investment on the part of the laboratory. Extensive system verification has been performed at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and a summary of these verification studies are available as a reference guide for users interested in implementing the software.
Better Data Processing in a Forensic Laboratory Starts with Better Software
Simplify the daily complexities of forensic case management, kinship, and paternity analysis with Converge software, a comprehensive enterprise software platform from Thermo Fisher Scientific. Designed to centralize all case data under one powerful solution, it’s an intuitive system for getting answers—integrated.
For Research, Forensic, Paternity and Cell Line Authentication. Not for use in Diagnostic and Therapeutic applications.