Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Northumbria police trial new DNA tests

Northumbria police force is one of four across the country to pilot a new DNA technique which could benefit crime detection.

The Forensic Science Service (FSS)’s DNAboost is a computer-based interpretation system which can interpret DNA samples that were previously indecipherable. The FSS says its new technique could potentially boost detection rates by upward of 15%.

The new system is being trialled by West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Northumbria and Humberside police forces. It allows scientists to distinguish between individual DNA samples in instances where more than individual has touched a surface leaving samples that were previously too poor in quality or too small for analysis by previous technology.

The system will be used in conjunction with a previous FSS innovation - Low Copy Number (LCN) - which enabled a match to be found from a minute sample of cells. FSS scientists estimate that using the two in conjunction could double the number of cold cases that could now be solved. According to FSS, tests suggest this area of data could now yield an improvement approaching 40%.

FSS’ DNA manager Paul Hackett said: “We’ve been able to demonstrate an increased rate of interpretation even in those areas that have proved traditionally most difficult - fragments of cellular submissions.”

“This means a great many more cases have the potential to be solved and a great many more families could look forward to securing justice,” concluded Hackett.

The pilot will run for three months, after which it will be available to the remainder of FSS customers.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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