A lights-out forensic DNA analysis workflow for no-suspect crime

Duncan Taylor, Damien Abarno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


An automated system of DNA profile processing (termed a ‘lights-out’ workflow) was trialled for no-suspect cases over a three-month period at Forensic Science SA (FSSA). The lights-out workflow utilised automated DNA profile reading using the neural network reading feature in FaSTR™ DNA with no analytical threshold. The profile information from FaSTR™ DNA was then processed in STRmix™ using a top-down analysis and automatically compared to a de-identified South Australian searchable DNA database. Computer scripts were used to generate link reports and upload reports and these were compared to the links and uploads that were obtained for the cases during their standard processing within the laboratory. The results of the lights-out workflow was an increase in both uploads and links compared to the standard workflow, with minimal adventitious links or erroneous uploads. Overall, the proof-of-concept study shows the potential for using automated DNA profile reading and top-down analysis to improve workflow efficiency in a no-suspect workflow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102907
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International: Genetics
Early online date17 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Automated processing
  • DNA database
  • Lights-out workflow
  • No suspect casework
  • Top-down analysis (TDA)


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