Detecting male DNA in forensic samples is faster, more efficient and more cost-effective, for sexual-assault and other types of cases.

New legislation and media scrutiny surrounding the slow processing time of sexual-assault evidence-collection kits have prompted labs to take a second look at their laboratory-processing steps.

PROBLEM: Traditional serological testing methods can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, and testing efficacy can vary depending on the expertise of each bench analyst.

SOLUTION: Since 2010, we have optimized and implemented a high-throughput serology process (Y-Screening) that has significantly increased our laboratory’s capacity to analyze more sexual assault evidence on a monthly basis.

We have utilized our Lean Six Sigma expertise to create guidelines and thresholds for our Y-screening results in order to identify and focus on the success rates of obtaining a DNA profile for comparison and/or CODIS upload.

forensic scientist screening DNA in lab

During our validation of the Y-Screening procedure, we found that a PCR-based upfront screening process yielded greater sensitivity and a more comprehensive assessment of the prospective samples that could continue on for DNA typing. These validation results corroborated our hypothesis that the Y-Screening method is a viable alternative to traditional serology methods (such as microscopic examination) for the detection of male DNA.

In addition to the Y-Screening PCR analysis of the evidentiary swabs contained in the sexual-assault kit, we are able to conduct a p30 and/or amylase immunological assay on all positive swabs and/or samples in order to provide body-fluid identification, if needed.

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