Forensics and Human Identification
Forensic scientists use many types of tests to determine what happened at a crime scene and who was possibly involved. Tests can include fingerprint analysis, DNA analysis, ballistics, and chemical analysis.
DNA analysis is one of the most powerful tools available for forensic investigations because of its statistical significance in the identification of cellular material, i.e., when selecting an individual at random, there is less than a one in a billion chance that a collected piece of DNA belongs to someone else.
Modern forensic scientists use a method where short DNA fragments (called short tandem repeats [STRs]) are collected from human cells and measured using fluorescent labels and automated instruments. DNA analysis on these STRs allows forensic scientists to draw conclusions based on these results. Since STRs vary between individuals, they are useful for identifying people.
STRs are found throughout the human genome. Forensic scientists around the world use between 13 and 24 STR locations, called loci, to create DNA profiles for individuals involved in a crime. GE Healthcare provides tools that facilitate collection and analysis of DNA from convicted offenders, arrestees, and suspects in order to generate DNA profiles. The DNA profiles are loaded into databases worldwide and used to determine whether the individuals were involved in unsolved crimes.
Applications of DNA analysis include:
- Rapid STR analysis
- Offender DNA databasing
- Forensic DNA casework – matching known samples to unknown samples
- Paternity testing – identifying family members
- Missing persons investigations
- Disaster victim identification (DVI)
- Military DNA “dog tags” – DNA identification files for military personnel
- Genetic studies/population studies
Forensics of the Future
GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ FTA technology saves you time and labor at virtually every step of your sample’s journey from offender sample collection through DNA analysis. FTA technology provides an effective method for DNA sample collection, transportation, and storage for decades at room temperature. FTA technology works with direct amplification STR kits without the need for additional reagents and is compatible with automated punching and liquid-handling robots. Outfitting your agencies with an FTA collection kit ensures consistent sample collection in the field, standardizing the samples coming into your workflow and increasing productivity.
DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System
Performing STR analysis using DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System and DNAscan Collection Kits from GE Healthcare can help further streamline your DNA databasing workflow. DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System, from GE Healthcare Life Sciences and NetBio Inc., is a fully automated, tabletop, rapid STR analysis system that enables processing of buccal swabs, blood swabs, and purified DNA on swabs in less than 85 minutes.
For information about custom FTA kits and DNAscan Rapid DNA Analysis System, contact your local GE Healthcare representative.
DNAscan is a trademark of GE Healthcare.
NetBio and Rapid DNA Analysis are trademarks of NetBio Inc.