Coming Soon! Validation Data for our Breakthrough Differential Extraction Kit
December 7, 2021
We are thrilled to announce the completion of the validation of our SpermX methodology. With data under review for publication, we hope our product will pave the way for swifter justice for victims of sexual assault.
Conventional differential extraction methods are plagued with shortcomings, and now our nanotechnology-derived polymer membrane and high-throughput workflows have demonstrated efficacy in two major solutions:
- efficiently trapping sperm cells to ensure separation in female-male mixtures
- generating reliable, reproducible, and automation-friendly protocols to help forensic laboratories address sexual assault kit backlogs
SpermX will play a pivotal role in forensic science, as governmental agencies and law enforcement organizations across the country have long grappled with untested SAKs that often contain DNA mixtures from victims and perpetrators. Multiple reports have been written and initiatives launched for the purpose of quelling the backlog. Due to the difficulties associated with poor separation techniques and mixture interpretation, progress has been slow. And some states conquered their backlog—only to re-accumulate untested kits.
This problem will soon be a thing of the past. The SpermX validation paper is currently under review at Forensic Science International: Genetics. What follows is an overview of observations from the InnoGenomics Technologies lab.
The SpermX matrix membrane is capable of capturing sperm cells, testing from a high of over 2.78 million cells (9158 ng) to a low of 50 cells (0.165 ng).
We evaluated SpermX on cotton swabs and a variety of substrates (e.g., silk, polyester, denim, and carpet) commonly encountered in sexual assault cases. SpermX performed well on a wide range of evidentiary material that may be processed in a forensic laboratory.
Comparison to Current Differential Extraction Methods
In analyzing mixtures of female epithelial cells and sperm, the SpermX method gave an average of over 6-fold more male DNA recovered in the sperm fraction. This high performance is due to SpermX‘s retention of the evidentiary swab during sperm digestion, as well as our matrix membrane’s high-efficiency capture of sperm cells.
With SAKs, obtaining enough probative male genotype data to support identification is a crucial part of conducting mixture analysis. Overall, the final STR profiles for both methods were comparable in that a probative male profile was obtained for all swab sets, rendering the same statistical probabilities.
Get Notified About Publication!We cannot wait to share the full data and details with our community of forensic DNA experts. For too long, forensic professionals have struggled to provide appropriate turnaround times and suitable data for sexual assault investigations. And victims have too long gone underserved by their justice system. Much of the problem stems from the time-consuming, laborious processes for differential extraction and the technical challenges of mixture analysis. In this validation, we were able to demonstrate that SpermX’s approach to the physical separation of epithelial cells and sperm sufficiently isolates sperm DNA with good recoveries for generating a probative genetic profile, even in situations of extreme female-to-male mixture ratios.
By supplying an efficient and automation-friendly protocol to forensic labs, SpermX has the power to transform how laboratories across the country dissolve their SAK backlogs and achieve higher efficiency in daily operations. For updates on the publication of the validation paper, sign up for our newsletter below!