Snapshot is a forensic DNA phenotyping service developed and operated by Parabon NanoLabs, affiliate of FHID, that can help law enforcement generate new investigative leads. Using modern SNP technology, Snapshot generates a physical profile from a DNA sample — a process known as DNA Phenotyping. A composite profile includes sex, ancestry, pigmentation (skin color, hair color, eye color, freckling), and even face morphology. A statistical confidence measure accompanies each phenotype prediction, and phenotype ranges that can be excluded with 95% confidence are also reported.
Snapshot takes advantage of modern SNP  technology. Using bioinformatics pipelines and predictive models, Snapshot reads genetic content from DNA, which in turn has allowed the creation of datasets that include both genotypic (genetic content) and phenotypic (trait) data for each of thousands of subjects. With the diligent and repeated application of data mining and machine learning processes to such data, Parabon, produces statistical models that translate the presence of specific genetic biomarkers into forensically relevant trait predictions.
STR analysis is only useful for matching a sample to a known suspect or a database. The Snapshot technology uses the information about physical appearance encoded in SNPs to generate new leads about unknown suspects.
Once we determine what type of sample and laboratory service is required to process your sample, we will send you a specimen transmittal form.
No, we would ask you to send the extracted DNA to one of our partner labs for genotyping. If you do not have extracted DNA, please ask your crime lab if they can extract DNA from the biological evidence in the case. If they are unable to perform the extraction, we will refer you to a forensic laboratory that can perform the extraction for your agency on a fee-for-service basis.
For more information, please see our Workflow of a Parabon Snapshot Investigation diagram.
Snapshot reports can be reliably produced from as little as 1ng* of DNA; however, if your case has more DNA available, we advise submitting more than 1ng to improve the likelihood of genotyping success. Before accepting a case, we will work directly with your DNA analyst to determine the quantity of DNA that will need to be consumed for a Snapshot analysis. A variety of factors go into this determination, including but not limited to, the total available quantity of extracted DNA, its quality, mixture level, the date and method of extraction, the age of the original biological evidence, and the availability of other biological evidence from which additional DNA might be extracted.
The genotyping assay used for Snapshot analysis calls for nuclear double-stranded DNA (dsDNA), either suspended in elution buffer, distilled water, or submitted as a lyophilized product. Depending on the sample quality, single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) may also be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
* The genotyping assay required for Snapshot has produced viable data using 50pg (0.05ng) of extracted DNA, however, at these levels we generally observe lower genotyping call rates, which results in phenotype predictions that have lower than normal confidence estimates. In some cases, where almost no information is available about the person of interest, these predictions may still be of value. Please contact us to discuss your case if you have < 1ng of DNA.
We report sex, genetic ancestry on global (e.g., European) and sub-continental (e.g., Scandinavian) scales, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face morphology. The data is presented in a report, with a composite predicted profile of the individual and the detailed supporting information that goes into making that profile.  Request a sample report.
The turn around time will largely depend upon the batch cycle of the laboratory. For economies of scale, the laboratories often like to run as many genotype samples as possible. So, the turnaround time can vary between four and six weeks. Once a decision is made by your organization to use Snapshot, we will coordinate with our partner laboratory and provide a more precise turn around time.
No, all DNA profiling is undertaken in Australia. Profiles are then sent electronically via our secure upload form to the US, where our partner company, Parabon NanoLabs, analyses the genotypic information to extract the phenotype and creates the Snapshot report.
We request that labs use Illumina’s GenomeStudio software to convert the raw data to Top Allele format, which reports the genotypes as A/C/G/T. We also ask for the results from the sex inference module in GenomeStudio.
At the present time, we are only providing this service to law enforcement and Federal government agencies. We’d be happy to speak with the detectives handling your case, if they express interest in learning more about the service.
For the past four years, the development of Snapshot has been funded by the United States Department of Defense (DOD), specifically the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. As part of the development and validation process, Snapshot has been tested on thousands of out-of-sample genotypes and has been shown to be extremely accurate. In addition to the DOD, Snapshot has been used by State and local police departments throughout the US, and private citizens seeking ancestry information. In 2016 the service was brought to Australia, to provide the same service to police and investigative forces.
DNA should be from a single individual or with ≤10% contribution from a second individual. If a two-person mixture has a mixture proportion >10%, please discuss such cases with FHID, as mixture deconvolution may be possible (e.g., if victim DNA is available).
fhid faq snapshot
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