Good Monday morning to all! For those who are wondering, my finger is better but still sore and quite numb. Hopefully the nerves regrow in the coming weeks. Thank you for all of the wonderful messages! Today’s message is less on the personal side like last week and more focused on activities going on within our forensic science community and your help is needed.

One area that I am looking for feedback and participation has to do with the NIST DNA Mixture Foundation Draft Report which is back out for additional comments. The draft paper describes a lack of validation data. We all know that mixture validation data exists within our laboratories but is not something we can just throw out into the public domain. In Kentucky, I would gladly open the door and let the NIST authors and subject matter experts view our data on site so long as they sign a typical external auditor confidentiality MOU. Let them see that the data exists and they can evaluate it. ASCLD wants to know if your laboratory would do the same. I have additional details and framework but first need to see if others would be willing to join us. If so, we can write a response to the authors and let them know that the data they seek is there for the viewing. Email me: and let me know ASAP. There will be a very short turnaround on this response. We can have a conference call with interested laboratories and explain in more detail. I really hope that you will join in please ask your neighbors. With our busy lives, not everyone reads the CLM each week and I need this request to go far and wide. 

In other news, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) with RTI International and the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is conducting a cost-benefit analysis study for the implementation of a Direct-to-DNA workflow in lieu of serology for sexual assault kit (SAK) processing. They will be developing an accompanying cost-benefit analysis calculator that will be made freely available to assist with decision-making for specific forensic laboratory needs as they relate to Direct-to-DNA processing of SAKs. This tool will be disseminated by the FTCoE through a cooperative agreement with NIJ. They are looking for laboratories to participate in the study. It starts with a short initial screening questionnaire. Please see the information below about the study and how to participate.  

The Forensic Resource Committee is back at it! The next Lightning Talk, on Forensic DNA Phenotyping, is scheduled for November 18th and the live event is limited to 100 attendees. This is information, including the ethics discussion, that we need as this technology is utilized more often in our forensic world. I encourage you to join this episode. The information to register is provided below. Additionally, we are happy to announce that the application for the three annual FRC awards opens today and will close January 20, 2022. The application forms for the Evaluation/Validation, LEAP, and Innovation Awards are also available below. 

The AAFS Standards Board (ASB) is currently accepting applications for the consensus bodies (CB). Each CB consists of 7 to 25 members and creates and approves by consensus Forensic documents. They have reached out to us to see if we would have interest in nominating an “Organization Member”, as compared to an individual/SME, for the various CBs. If there is interest, ASCLD decides who we would like to nominate for each/any CB and submit the nomination on the organization’s official letterhead. The ASB feel that it is very important to have ASCLD materially involved in their CBs because it is important to include the management prospective in the discussions related to standards. Please review the ASB letter below that lists the various CBs and let me or Executive Director, John Byrd, know if you are interested in representing ASCLD as an Organization Member. We have to submit the letter to ASB by November 19, 2021 so don’t dally.  

Lastly, I would like to thank our Veterans for their service and sacrifice. World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles in France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” Veterans Day is celebrated each year on November 11th and is a day to appreciate those who have served. Let them know of your respect and appreciation. Thank you for your service, Brigadier General John A. Byrd (retired).