U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid)

Select Filters

Strengthening Our Nation's Crime Laboratories

April, 2018

April 2018

As technology improves, demand for analysis of DNA and other forensic evidence to help solve crimes grows. This video describes some of the challenges crime laboratories face in meeting this demand and how National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funding has strengthened crime labs and encouraged innovation in forensic techniques.

Sexual Assault: Obtaining DNA From Evidence Collected up to a Week Later

June, 2009

Technological advances have made it possible to detect male DNA in evidentiary samples collected several days after a sexual act has taken place. Panelists will present the research that has led to these findings, followed by a discussion of the potential impact of this work from the perspectives of the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) and the crime laboratory communities.

Backlogs and Their Impact on the Criminal Justice System

June, 2010

Evidence backlogs have been known to be an issue in crime laboratories. A recent study published by NIJ has shown that backlogs of untested evidence are also an issue in law enforcement evidence storage. This panel will discuss the issues and present preliminary findings from a study of the Los Angeles Police Department's and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's experience with clearing out a large backlog of unanalyzed rape kits.

Familial DNA Searching: Issues and Answers

June, 2011

Familial DNA searching is the practice of creating new investigative leads in cases where DNA evidence found at the scene of a crime strongly resembles that of an existing DNA profile but is not an exact match. Panelists will explain how the technology works, provide examples of successful convictions obtained through familial searches, and discuss the various misconceptions and concerns regarding this practice.

How Research and Technology Are Expanding Sexual Assault Kit Testing

January, 2016

January 2016

NIJ Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences Director Gerald LaPorte and Deputy Director Heather Waltke, along with Heather LaSalle, Forensic Examiner, DNA Casework Unit, and Tina Delgado, Chief, Biometrics Division from the FBI Laboratory discuss how scientific advances can help jurisdictions process a large number of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.

Forensic DNA

Forensic DNA analysis has played a crucial role in the investigation and resolution of thousands of crimes since the late 1980s.

The demand for tools and technologies in all areas of forensic science, including DNA testing, far exceed the current capabilities of the field. To help meet that demand, the NIJ has funded forensic DNA research and development projects for over a decade.

What Is Research and Evaluation Evidence and How Can We Use It?

June, 2010

This NIJ Conference Panel will explore the development and use of evidence-based policies, programs and technologies to improve effectiveness and efficiencies related to government. Through casual observation, practices and programs may appear to be effective, but under closer scrutiny the results may look much different.

Making Sense of the DNA Backlog - NIJ Conference Panel

June, 2009

Panelists will present findings from two NIJ studies that examined the DNA backlog in law enforcement agencies and crime labs. Panelists will discuss research findings related to new and potential time- and cost-saving approaches.

Making Sense of the DNA Backlog - NIJ Conference Panel

June, 2009

Panelists will present findings from two NIJ studies that examined the DNA backlog in law enforcement agencies and crime labs. Panelists will discuss research findings related to new and potential time- and cost-saving approaches.

Director's Message: New Research Projects Funded in Fiscal Year 2015

One of NIJ’s most crucial tasks as a science agency is making decisions about which research proposals to fund. I’m pleased to report that for fiscal year 2015, NIJ made over $156 million in grant awards to more than 210 research projects. These awards reflect NIJ’s commitment to funding rigorous research that helps practitioners and policymakers make criminal justice decisions based on sound scientific evidence.  

Forensic Research and Development at NIJ

Forensic science is the application of sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering to matters of law. Forensic science can help investigators understand how blood spatter patterns occur (physics), learn the composition and source of evidence such as drugs and trace materials (chemistry) or determine the identity of an unknown suspect (biology).

Impression Evidence: Strengthening the Disciplines of Fingerprints, Firearms, Footwear, and Other Pattern and Impression Sciences Through Research

June, 2010

Forensic examinations involving specific forensic science disciplines are typically dependent upon qualitative analyses and expert interpretation of observed patterns based on a scientific foundation, rather than quantitative results. These disciplines include latent fingerprints, questioned documents, footwear, and other forms of impression and pattern evidence.