embedded database functionality. It allows to:
(a) Organize collected data in
an efficient manner with easy search and access including network
possible direct data import
into the databases to minimize the possibility of human error.
databases to find matches which is the primarily goal in many forensic
To switch to databases mode hit
"Database Operations" tab in the main window. Grape's databases are
based. It means that any Grape user can use any database located on
computers (through the local network or Internet) as easily as on the
local hard drive. It can be useful and convenient in many situations:
example, if many Grape's users use a central database or there is a
between labs. But it raises security issues because
unlimited access to a valuable database (including the possibility to
even delete it) is clearly inappropriate. So one of the most important
things that it is needed to
take care of is to restrict possible access to databases. The Secure Access button
activates a dialog where various level of access can be set for
Grape's users (based on their IP addresses or computers name). It is
that you always have the full access to the local database (i.e.
located on the same computer as the Grape executable); for all other
you can, for example, allow read access but disallow any modifications
verboten any access from remote computers at all. Default assess rights
settings that you get upon the installation are the following: read
access is permitted from any computer, write access is verboten for all
Grape maintains two
databases: Samples Databases that
contain information about individual samples
and its genotypes and Cases Databases.
Any Simple Case, Mixed Case or Kinship Case can be saved
in a Cases database. It has many advantages
against saving just in a file: advanced possibilities of searching,
and preview that are especially important if you have a lot of cases to
organize properly. Any case that includes “Person X” in their
a person in the center of our consideration like suspect or missed
being saved in a database stores in a special field all possible
genotypes of Person X. For example, for a Typical Rape Case the
genetic profile of the "true offender” will be determined. Most
probably it contains thousands of possible genotypes because of the
of the evidentiary sample. This is not the same as the genotype of the
moreover suspect can be even unknown and this is not an obstacle to put
case into a database. This approach plays major role in implementation
of the Find
Matches functionality that is discussed below.
The interfaces of both types of databases
are very similar and we will discuss in detail only samples databases.
DB” button in the main window activates the dialog similar to the
Through the button Choose DB it is
possible to select a database you want to access (including databases
computers) or create a new one. In the above example we are accessing
physically located on the local computer. Each record in
the database contains genotype of one sample and also some additional
information stored in fields “Name”, “Reference Number”, “Folder”,
the date of the creation of the record), “Notes” and “Unique ID”. The
field “Unique ID” is generated automatically and is needed mostly for
Grape's procedures in order to distinguish records: two records can
have identical other fields but the Unique ID will be always different
record. The other fields “Folder”,
Number” and “Notes” are text fields that can be used in any manner you
want to. For example, the following usage is possible.
Usually any criminal case that goes into a lab involves many samples.
So it would be
good to give all of them the same label: it could be, for example,
Number”. But all samples should be distinguished from each other: the
“Name” serves this purpose, any sample gets its own name. Finally, the
“Notes” can contain detailed description or any additional info related
given sample. The field "Folder" can serve similar purposes as indexes
in CODIS system: like 'Convicted
Offenders' or 'Known Suspects'. Certainly,
such usage of these fields is not mandatory, it is
possible to think about these fields just as about 4 text fields that
can help you
to organize data properly.
mind that a database can
contain thousands of records, the advanced search tool that allows for
desirable record quickly and efficiently is very important. At the top
of the dialog there are 6 filter fields: “Name”,
“Reference #”, “Folder”, “Notes”, “Date” and “Unique ID”. You can type
letters in one or few of these fields and Grape will filter “on the
display only those records that contain desirable letter combinations.
In the example above Grape shows only records that contain 'sa' in the
The “Preview” checkbox allows
see complete information about selected
including all genotypes in a
separate resizable window
For a cases database full Grape
document will be displayed: the exact copy of what one can see in the
window of Grape.
The "Samples Database" dialog
allows not only
browsing databases but also editing records. Use the bottom part of the
this purpose: select a record in the table and full information
record (except genotypes) appears. This information is editable;
you can change anything you want (except Unique ID). To change
genotypes press Edit Genotypes
button. The same technique is used
‘manual’ creation of new records: use “Add Record” button and edit the
information about the new record that immediately appears in the table.
this manual input there is possibility of automatic creation of new
through “Import Records” button. It is
assumed that you have a file that contains information about new
unlimited number) that you want to put into a database. You need to
template file that basically describes where Grape should search for
pieces of data. Then you pass the
names of the data file and the template file to Grape and it creates as
new records as needed and fills them out with the correct information.
preferable way to add new records because it minimizes both efforts and
possibility of human mistakes. See Import
Data for details.
"Export Selected” button
to copy some records (or all of them if you want to backup your
another database. Just select the records you want to copy
the button. A dialog appears where you can browse for a destination
(it can be located on remote computer as well).
compares two databases (or any selected parts of them) and finds
databases can be either cases database or samples database. Typical
the applications of this feature are as follows.
(a) Compare genotype of
against database of unresolved crimes. The first database is a
samples database and it contains just one record, e.g. suspect (or only
record is selected in a database). The second database is a cases
example, the database of unresolved rapes with the genotype of the
suspect left ‘Unknown’ as discussed in Mixed Stains Mode).
(b) Compare a
samples database against
itself. It is suitable for plane crashes or other mass disasters.
remains can be fragmented in such a situation and Grape will tell the
number of persons involved as well as produce a list of samples that
particular person. The second part of identification most generally
the collection of DNA samples of close relatives and creating a
person case’ (available through "Kinship Analysis" tab). Put all these
person cases in a single database and then run “Find Matches” of this
against the sample database of remains to be identified. Grape will
i.e. will identify remains of all missed persons.
(c) Compare databases of crime cases
against each other to find “serial crimes”.
many other possible
applications of “Find Matches” functionality. It works in the following
“Find Matches” button activates the dialog like the one below
has 2 separate parts in
order to choose 2 databases to compare. “Open”
button allows browsing
databases to compare. It is possible to use filter fields to display
not the whole databases but some parts of them. In the example above
samples_sb_1 with only those
records displayed that contain “sa” in
their name. Any number of records can be
selected at the left and right sides of the dialog (or all of them).
“Search” executes comparison of the selected records.
result is displayed in
the main window of Grape. The first image of this topic shows an
example of “Find Matches”
output for the example above. All
matches are divided into clusters. Roughly speaking each cluster is a
records that “match” each other. But this simple definition is not
correct because of a few reasons. First of all, Grape does not assume
records should have the same set of loci. For example, if we have 3
B, C where sample A uses 10 loci, sample B uses 5 loci and sample C
another 5 loci (different than B),
then Grape will show match between A
(in 5 loci) and between A and
B (also in 5 loci). So all
the same cluster in spite there is no match between B and C at all.
situation can arise and in more difficult cases. For example, for
a typical rape
case the genotype of the “true offender” usually can not be determined
unique manner and many possibilities exist. So if we compare two
cases (to find out whether this is the serial crime) “the match” will
if there is at least one genotype that is common for both cases. It
is easy to
see that in this case we can get again the situation similar to the
described: case A matches C, case A matches B, but cases B and C
common genotypes of "true offenders". Nevertheless, all these cases
will go into the same
cluster so Grape accumulates in a single cluster all records that are
each other. If more detailed analysis is needed it should not be a
because a cluster typically contains only a small number of records.