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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Laboratory Identification

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National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

In general, the type of evidence collected will determine which DNA tests can be conducted.  This will then determine which laboratory (or laboratories) can conduct the needed examination(s). The prosecutor must know the range of typing available at the laboratory under consideration: Short Tandem Repeats (STR) testing, mitochondrial (mtDNA), Y-STR, SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism). If the local laboratory cannot accommodate mitochondrial typing, prosecutors might, for example, consider the FBI Lab or its regional mitochondrial DNA laboratories, or a private laboratory. If the prosecutor is unaware of the appropriate lab for specific typing, the prosecutor should seek advice from or consult with a local DNA analyst.

An essential consideration for the prosecutor in choosing a laboratory is whether the laboratory results will be admissible in court and the weight such evidence will carry. In evaluating which lab to use, the prosecutor should determine whether the laboratory is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB) and is in compliance with the Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Typing Laboratories and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories issued by the FBI Director in October 1998 (hereinafter referred to as "QA Standards").

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