Y-Screening: A Faster Solution for the Rape Kit Backlog

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

Y-Screening, also known as Male DNA screening, is the most efficient DNA testing method for sexual assault kits.
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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