Academic journal article Forensic Science Communications

Regional mtDNA Laboratory Program

Academic journal article Forensic Science Communications

Regional mtDNA Laboratory Program

Article excerpt

The FBI's appropriation for fiscal year 2003 includes $4,000,000 in recurring funds to operate four regional mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) forensic laboratories in affiliation with the FBI Laboratory. The program is intended to provide mtDNA analysis of human remains or other evidence to assist law enforcement in identifiying missing persons or criminal perpetrators. Congress expects that affiliation with the FBI Laboratory will ensure adherence to uniform standards and procedures by participating laboratories.

It is premature to announce the Regional mtDNA Laboratory Program in detail, but plans are sufficiently developed to provide this overview. Before the end of the year, the FBI Laboratory plans to award multi-year cooperative agreements to four accredited, publicly funded state or local forensic laboratories (partner laboratories). The agreements would pay direct costs associated with establishing and operating mtDNA analysis units, including salaries and benefits, equipment and repair, space modifications, supplies, and travel.

Using current mtDNA technology, the FBI Laboratory can analyze approximately 120 mtDNA cases annually with two-three person teams. Sufficient, suitable laboratory and office space must be available for processing mtDNA evidence and housing mtDNA analysts. To minimize start-up time, partner laboratories will be expected to dedicate mtDNA trainees full-time. Trainees must be experienced DNA examiners or PCR-qualified biologists. …

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