FORENSIC DNA SERVICES
Forensic DNA Profiling & Interpretation
Forensic Access offers services for the “search and recovery” of DNA, DNA profiling, interpretation, reporting and Court attendance as an Expert Witness. Our DNA services support Criminal, Defence and Civil Law cases as well as investigations for industry and private cases.
DNA profiling (“DNA analysis” or “DNA testing”) and the interpretation of DNA profiles, in a forensic context, is used extensively in both the detection and prosecution of crime as well as being used by the defence to help ensure that prosecutions are safe. Forensic Access also offers DNA testing services to private individuals and for industrial enquiries.
With the ever increasing ability of forensic science providers to detect smaller traces of DNA in their laboratories, the circumstances surrounding how the DNA was collected and the profile obtained, and when and how that DNA could have been deposited onto the surface tested, is of paramount importance. This has become even more crucial since the introduction of super-sensitive ‘DNA17’ technologies, now in routine use.
Forensic Access scientists have considerable expertise and casework experience, from both a police and a defence background, in the application of DNA profiling. We are in an almost unique position in that we regularly work with all of the main forensic providers, both in terms of scrutinising their findings from a defence position, and also utilising their DNA facilities and laboratories when the need arises. This means our scientists have in-depth knowledge of the differing DNA chemistries and testing procedures in use in other DNA laboratories, which can be vital in understanding the strengths and limitations of any DNA evidence.
Search For & Recovery Of DNA
Our forensic biologists are all highly experienced at searching items for body fluids and other human traces, such as blood, semen, saliva and hairs. We are one of few forensic providers in the defence / private sectors who are a UKAS accredited testing laboratory . Click here for more information.
Recovered material can then be submitted for DNA profiling tests. We offer a wide range of DNA profiling techniques to obtain a DNA profile (options include DNA17 testing, Y-STR profiling, mitochondrial DNA testing and various types of animal DNA testing services).
The extreme sensitivity of DNA17 profiling has (as expected) resulted in an increase in the number of very complex DNA profiling results encountered in case work. Our scientists are highly experienced in interpreting these difficult mixed and ‘low level’ profiles. The way this evidence is presented in Court is developing continuously and in early 2013 rulings in the cases of: R v Kuba Dlugosz: 2011/04122/C2, R v Pickering: 2012/03728/B1, R v MDS: 2012/02955/D4 clarified some of these complex issues. (Our scientists have been involved in helping train other members of the Criminal Justice System in the impact of these rulings.). Furthermore, new approaches to statistical evaluation of complex DNA mixtures are now more routinely being used in the Courts. The use (or not) of these ‘probabalisitic’ interpretation methods can hugely impact upon the significance of DNA findings; our team have been involved in the development and implementation of these techniques from the early days, and are ideally placed to scrutinise and advise in this very complex area.
Often, the key question in relation to DNA evidence is less ‘who’s DNA is it?’ and more ‘how did the DNA come to be in the area sampled?’ With the increasing fragmentation of forensic services it is crucial that your expert considers the ‘end-to-end’ process in order to address this important aspect of the evidence. This ‘holistic’ approach to interpretation is one of our particular specialities.
Forensic Access’ DNA Services
In summary, our experienced forensic scientists can provide services for Criminal, Defence and Civil Law cases, as well as for industry and private cases.
Our independent DNA services include:
- search and recovery of a wide range of items for body fluids and other sources of DNA;
- routine STR (DNA17) DNA profiling;
- specialist DNA profiling techniques including Y STR profiling, mitochondrial DNA profiling, animal DNA testing services;
- interpreting the DNA profiling results in the overall context of a case, including:
- undertaking match probability interpretation
- complex statistical analysis of mixed DNA profiles
- reviews of cases involving specialist and/or historical DNA profiling methods (Quad, SGM, SGM+, LCN, 3100 Enhancement, DNA SenCE)
- interpretation of DNA profiles where no statistic can be applied
- reviewing procedures, continuity and integrity of items;
- preparing reports, attending case conferences and presenting our evidence in court.