NOCQuest: Method to Determine Number of Contributors in a DNA Mixture

Invention Summary:

DNA collected at a crime scene can be used as evidence against and as a clue in the determination of the perpetrator(s) of the crime. Use of this biological evidence, however, can be complicated if DNA from multiple individuals is present.  The reliability of the DNA sample can come into question as to whether a match is the result of a match of the individuals DNA or if the aggregate of the samples matches the suspects DNA.

Rutgers scientists have developed a method for estimating the number of contributors to a DNA sample.  This technology uses the same allele frequency measurements commonly used for DNA identification. Instead of qualitatively analyzing where peaks occur, this technology also uses quantitative analysis of peak heights and frequencies of alleles.  The program uses a series of factors to determine the number of contributors to the sample.  These factors include the DNA profile, along with the amount of sample, capillary injection time, and allele frequency. These can be compared to standard table to obtain the likelihood for the number of contributors to a sample. This likelihood can then be used to effectively estimate the number of contributors. With this number of contributors, crime scene investigations can be significantly more effective and accurate.

Market Application:

  • A method to determine the number of constituents in a mixture (ex. Crystallites) or spectra (ex. X-ray energy and nuclear magnetic resonance)
  • A method to use qualitative and quantitative data to estimate the number of individuals in a DNA sample


  • First tool of its kind to analyze DNA profiles quantitatively
  • Low template mixtures can be analyzed, making process cost-effective
  • Allele frequency and stutter incorporation makes this method unique and effective

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.