Using DNA•VIEW Kinship/Paternity Reports
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Using DNA•VIEW Kinship/Paternity Reports

  1. Background
  2. DNA•VIEW can create report files of various formats. You might want to incorporate part or all of the file as part of your formal expert report on a paternity, kinship, crime, etc. case. There are a few caveats and tricks involved in manipulating the DNA•VIEW report file to best advantage, discussed below.

  3. Paternity and Kinship reports
  4. DNA•VIEW has the possibility to produce two rather different formats of paternity or kinship report. (That is, there are four reports in all.)

    1. The "log" report
      2. Discussion
      3. The LOG REPORT is the traditional report. It is more or less what you see on the screen during computation. It goes to the "report buffer" in DNA•VIEW and from there it can be printed (Reprint) or sent to file (File ASCII). The contents of this report are essentially a log of the various operations that you request while analyzing the case.

      4. Report to file
      5. If you want to use this report as the basis for your official report, you may send it to file (File ASCII) then read it into Microsoft Word or similar program. However, it is likely that it will have some characters in it that need cleaning up. The cleaning up can of course be done by manual editing within Word, but usually it can be done at the moment of export (i.e. of saving to file) from DNA•VIEW by judicious use of DNA•VIEW's character translation facility.

        Specifically, the log report has boxes around some answers, but the attractive box lines usually turn into ugly strings of odd characters such as 3 and Ä when viewed in a word processor. Therefore it's nice to remove them. Also, if the character μ (for mutation) occurs in the report, it is likely to appear as æ in Word.

        Symbol sets

        Computers and printers traditionally had something called symbol sets. A symbol set is an assignment of visible (or otherwise) symbols to the numbers from 0 to 255. All symbol sets agree on the meanings of characters 32 through 127 which include 0-9, a-z, A-Z, and the common punctuation marks. DNA•VIEW assumes the PC-8 symbol set, which means for example that
        • character 230 displays as μ and
        • the characters 179-223 are box-drawing characters.

        PC-8 symbol set

        The PC-8 symbol set should be used to display the DNA•VIEW screen (it is the US default for a DOS screen, although probably there is a way within Windows to change it).

        If your computer is configured for some other language then it may display according to some symbol set other than PC-8 and consequently some DNA•VIEW screens may not appear quite as intended.

        Odd appearance in Word

        When you import a text file to Microsoft Word, it imports the characters (it probably has its own scheme that is not exactly a symbol set based on 0-255) according to what symbol set it believes the import document uses. In Word 2002, apparently the user has control and can specify. In Word 2000, the symbol set that seems to assumed when you import is ECMA-94, which has no box drawing characters (but instead superscript numbers and other characters in those positions) and which has æ in position 230, rather than μ as PC-8 does.

      6. Character Translations
      7. Maintenance Options, DNA•VIEW character translations, in the Housekeeping menu, is a facility to translate or eliminate characters of a DNA•VIEW report. character translation takes place when the file is saved, i.e. when it is exported from DNA•VIEW (File, ASCII).

        In particular I use these settings:

        Box drawing characters
        Boxes that look nice on the DNA•VIEW screen are shown as 3, Ä, and other unattractive characters when imported into a word processor. Therefore use DNA•VIEW character translations to translate the characters from 179-223, which are all the box-drawing characters, to nothing.
        The character μ
        The report occasionally contains the character μ for mutation. If you import a file with this character into Word or Excel, be sure to choose the PC-8 symbol set. Otherwise, the character may end up looking like æ.

        Another way to get the μ to look like μ in Word is to find the right DNA•VIEW character translations, likely translating 230 (μ in the PC-8 symbol set which DNA•VIEW assumes) to 181 (μ in the ECMA-94 symbol set).

        So what we are doing with the DNAVIEW character translations is to set up a partial conversion from PC-8 to ECMA-94 at the time that reports are exported. The box drawing characters are missing from ECMA-94, so we need to eliminate them. μ, though, is found in ECMA-94, namely at position 181.

      8. PCR notation
      9. A while ago I thought it would be a good idea to write alleles like the TH01 9.3 allele with a centered dot instead, i.e. 9•3, since after all the dot is not a decimal in this case. It does look good, but unfortunately the center dot does not import correctly to Windows programs like Word; it ends up as ù.

        Therefore I added an option that allows the user to select the separator character. Invoke Housekeeping, Options, PCR notation style and choose the ordinary dot as a separator (at the last of the notation style choices).

    2. The "Standard" or "SQL LIMS" Report
      1. Executive summary – TO IMPORT THE STANDARD REPORT
      2. Importing into Microsoft Excel
        Recommendation: Install the DNA•VIEW Report Viewer which automatically takes care of the steps below. Otherwise:
        • Every column needs to be imported as "text", not "general", or Excel will take liberties.
        • File origin=PC-8, or else the character μ will be corrupted.
        • PCR alleles should be written as e.g. 9.3, not 9•3.
        Importing into Word

      3. Discussion
      4. The STANDARD REPORT, also known as the SQL LIMS report, is available both for paternity and for kinship computations, and the two versions are closely parallel. The original design intention of this report was exporting to another computer program. It is "standard" in the sense that all the information is at predictable specified positions.

        The standard report is never shown on the DNA•VIEW screen, but is automatically (depending on certain Case Option settings) created as a text file by Paternity case calculate report or by immigration/kinship, Calculate and report LRs, [all] races.

        The character translations mechanism discussed above doesn't apply to the standard report. That may be a design error but a small one – there are no box drawing characters in the standard report, and Excel can handle the μ/æ problem for us.

        Magnificent Excel Report Viewer tool

        I leave this section in place for reference and explanation, but the steps described are obsolete because an Excel macro to painlessly import for you is freely available.

      5. Importing into Excel
      6. Open Excel, and open the desired DNA•VIEW report file. By default the file will be in the reports folder within the dnaview folder, and named something like kin160.txt .

        Excel import caveats

        Excel does a few funny things if you simply accept the default behavior of the Text Import Wizard – that is, if you immediately click "Finish."
        Fractions are treated as dates
        A kinship formula is sometimes a simple fraction such as 1/2. Interpreting under Excel's default "general" format, this becomes Jan 2.
        Numbers are rounded
        A posterior probability might be 99.999%. Interpreting under Excel's default "general" format, this becomes 100%.

        Watch the import wizard closely. Select "Open", Files of type "text" and choose the file you want.

          Excel Text Wizard steps

        1. Leave the file type as "delimited", but change File Origin to "PC-8" (this will fix the μ/æ problem) and hit Next.
        2. Leave the delimiter as Tab and hit Next.
        3. Click the down scroll arrow until the longest line is in view. This may be a "cumulative LR" line. Anyway, they are long enough. Now slide the horizontal scroll bar all the way to the right. Hold shift and click with the mouse pointer on the white area of the right-most column. This will select all the columns. Click on Text in the Column data format box. Finish.

          A this step we tell Excel that all the columns are Text rather than General, so Excel is therefore not allowed to make the mistakes in the sidebar.

      7. Importing into Word
      8. You can design a report to your liking in Microsoft Word (or any word processor), and import all or parts of the DNA•VIEW report into it. Several approaches:
        1. First Excel
        2. You may prefer to import to Excel, then cut and paste parts of the table into Word.
        3. Into Microsoft Word
        4. Open the DNA•VIEW report file in Word. I tell the import wizard that the format is MS-DOS, but probably Windows default works equally well.

          The column headings won't line up with their columns because the default Word tab settings aren't wide enough for some of the wide columns. Therefore you need to adjust the tabs. Personally I find this difficult and tricky, but anyone reasonably proficient with Word should handle it easily.

        5. Using a macro
        6. If you are expert with Word, no doubt you can do even better. Write a macro that will format the DNA•VIEW report as you would like it. Then you will have elegant, automatically-created reports.