Welcome to The Forensic DNA Testing Blog
This forensic blog is our official forum where DDC staff and clients can post issues, concerns, answers, and questions regarding forensic DNA testing. Please note that all posts and comments are subject to approval by the moderator. Names may be changed to protect the writer's privacy.
November 9th, 2012
On November 15, 2012, Dr. Julie A. Heinig, DDC’s Forensic Director, will visit Columbus, OH to participate in the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ annual Death Penalty Seminar. The topic, “Behind the DNA Report; How to Combat the Evidence” will be part of a 3-day Continuing Legal Education seminar for attorneys in the state of Ohio. Together with Lancaster, OH attorney Andrew Stevenson, Dr. Heinig will present unbiased information that will help attendees understand the basics of DNA, how it is used in human identification, and its legal implications in capital cases. Often when DNA evidence is presented in a case, attorneys may seek an independent expert to help them determine if the conclusions of DNA analysis already conducted are in fact supported by the underlying data. Additional DNA analysis or second-opinion testing may be required in a DNA case that could prove critical to the case outcome. Dr. Heinig has over 18 years of experience in the scientific field of DNA, and as a forensic DNA expert, she has worked on hundreds of criminal cases where DNA has played a crucial role. Her skills as a reviewer of other laboratories’ work and the technical reviewer of DNA analysis at DNA Diagnostics Center allows Dr. Heinig to give relevant and useful information to attorneys whose casework may include DNA issues.
December 21st, 2011
Christmas wishes came true this year for Janice Porter, a Louisville resident whose son, Kerry, was exonerated and released from the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex this Monday. Mr. Porter has been imprisoned for 14 years for the 1996 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend’s husband, a crime he has always insisted he did not commit.
Melanie Lowe, attorney with the Kentucky Innocence Project, has been working on Porter’s case for the past 5 years and contacted DNA Diagnostics Center to provide the forensic DNA expertise on previously untested evidence in the case. Because DNA testing was not readily available and/or reliable at the time of Porter’s trial, the Innocence Project asked for DNA testing to be completed on the crime scene evidence.
The forensic analysts at DDC (DNA Diagnostics Center) conducted extensive testing on duct tape used to make a homemade gun silencer found at the crime scene. DNA analysis of this key piece of evidence excluded Kerry Porter as a contributor to the DNA identified on the duct tape. The Louisville Metro Police Department’s cold-case unit, led by Detective Sgt. Denny Butler, worked closely with the Innocence Project in the investigation of this case and was instrumental in the dismissal of charges and Mr. Porter’s exoneration.
Post-conviction DNA analysis, which often includes testing severely degraded or difficult samples, is nothing new to the experts at DDC Forensics. Since 2006, DNA Diagnostics Center has played a critical role in the exoneration of wrongfully imprisoned individuals in several states. Working effectively with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and Innocence Project lawyers is as crucial to the process as high quality laboratory procedures. Today, DDC is proudly assisting Innocence Network projects nationwide. It is DDC’s mission to provide impartial, unbiased DNA testing for all who seek the truth.
December 19th, 2011
FAIRFIELD, Ohio, Dec. 19, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — DDC (DNA Diagnostics Center), one of the largest DNA testing companies in the world, announced today the acquisition of Orchid Cellmark, Inc.’s (Orchid Cellmark) government paternity business. Orchid Cellmark, a leading international provider of DNA testing services primarily for forensic and family relationship applications, is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp®) (NYSE: LH).
“Our acquisition of Orchid’s government paternity business significantly expands the size and scope of DDC’s portfolio, further solidifying our position as one of the largest DNA testing companies in the world,” said Peter Vitulli, DDC President and CEO. He continued, “This transaction allows for a strong and vibrant competitive landscape in the marketplace, which will in turn benefit the consumer. Orchid’s government paternity business has earned an outstanding reputation for excellent quality and reliability, as well as top notch customer service, and we are pleased to enter into this agreement.”
Orchid Cellmark has provided parentage testing services to government agencies since 1979, providing contracts to numerous state and county entities under exclusive and multi-vendor terms. Some of these contracts and their renewals span more than two decades.
About DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC)
For 16 years, DDC has been the largest provider of private DNA paternity and other DNA tests in the U.S. and worldwide, offering comprehensive DNA testing services for paternity and other family relationships, forensics, cell line authentication, and ancestry. The Company is also known for its groundbreaking technologies, including an exclusive license for the most innovative and accurate non-invasive prenatal paternity test using SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) Microarray Technology, which only requires a simple blood draw from the mother and alleged father. Other services provided by DDC include DDC Veterinary, the animal DNA testing division, which provides innovative, quality DNA testing for companion and sport animals. DDC was the first to adopt robotics technology in its laboratory processes, ensuring highly stringent and efficient handling of DNA samples. DDC’s unique Dual Process™ ensures all professionally collected DNA samples are independently tested twice producing legal results of unmatched quality and reliability. DDC is recognized through a number of accreditations nationally and internationally achieving perfect ratings in its past 16 inspections including those performed by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) and the College of American Pathologists (CAP). DDC is also accredited by ACLASS to meet the standards of ISO 17025 and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board International and follows the DNA Advisory Board (DAB) guidelines, which attests to DDC’s superior forensic testing service. For more information: www.dnacenter.com or 1-800-362-2368.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/19/4132359/ddc-one-of-the-largest-dna-testing.html#ixzz1h0eOE3XI
December 19th, 2011
A team of Dutch scientists have developed an eye color test that can determine a suspect’s eye color from a DNA sample left behind at a crime scene, a news article reports.
This new test will help investigators identify potential suspects in cases where a DNA profile from crime scene evidence does not have a match in existing DNA databases. However, the test alone cannot be used as evidence towards a conviction in court, because it only has an accuracy of 94%.
Eye color is one of the many external features scientists are investigating with the hope of developing tools in the field of DNA forensics. Physical characteristics can be controlled by one gene, or a combination of genes, which makes some features easier to decode than others. The field of DNA forensics continues to evolve at an exciting pace, and the possibility of creating a physical sketch based on DNA evidence is real, albeit far off into the future.
DDC’s Forensic Division continues to monitor these developments in the field. As a leader in forensic DNA services, our forensic scientists have worked with many legal and law enforcement professionals, providing case consultation and DNA testing.
For more information, please visit DDC Forensics’ website or call 1-800-406-1940.
December 13th, 2011
Paternity has been pushed into the national spotlight by the recent allegations toward teen pop star Justin Bieber. While tabloids buzz with celebrity paternity stories, thousands of men across the country face the same issue daily and turn to DNA paternity testing to either confirm or refute their relationship to children. According to DDC (DNA Diagnostics Center), the largest provider of private paternity testing worldwide, questions about paternity testing from men have increased annually and now account for about 40% of all inquiries.
“As one of the leading companies in DNA testing, we’re seeing an increase in calls by men seeking paternity answers, especially for cases where there are disputes or where chain of custody is important,” said Dr. Michael Baird, chief science officer for DDC. “In the case of DDC, we’re an accredited AABB laboratory that maintains a chain of custody reporting structure to ensure results of a test can be presented in court, if needed.”
About 500,000 paternity cases were performed in the United States last year, according to the AABB (aabb.org), the professional society that accredits paternity testing laboratories, in its latest annual report. Establishing paternity is important for the child to have access to legal and social benefits (including social security, veterans and inheritance benefits), provides an accurate medical history and strengthens the bond between father and child. In fact, most state laws require an unmarried couple to complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) at the hospital to establish parental rights.
“If there are any questions about who the father is, a DNA test is recommended,” Dr. Baird states. “About 1 out of every 3 tested alleged fathers is found to not be the biological father of a child. After an AOP is provided to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, couples have the option of amending the document with a DNA paternity test to confirm parental rights or fathers have the option of securing a DNA test to establish paternity. However, there is a limited time for the validation to take place. Until that time, parental rights are not fully protected.”
In addition to paternity testing services, DDC also provides expert DNA testing for family relationship, adoption, immigration, forensics and ancestry. For more information on DDC visit online at dnacenter.com or call 800-362-2368.
September 19th, 2011
A blog article recently posted by Promega highlights how forensic DNA testing was used in a UK case involving two British women—a wife and her husband’s mistress.
The story itself is worthy of a soap opera, with a twist at the end of the story. The wife filed police reports blaming the mistress for various vicious attacks, including being stabbed by a screwdriver, having bleach thrown in her face, and several death threats. The mistress asserted her innocence, and her relatives started logging her whereabouts to aid her efforts to prove her innocence.
Ultimately, DNA testing was used on evidence collected, including a lipstick that was used to write a threatening message on the wife’s apartment window as well as an envelope used to send another threat.
DDC’s forensics scientists routinely isolate and perform DNA testing on samples such as described above. Our ASCLD/LAB-International accredited Forensics laboratory provides independent scientific analysis—we work with law professionals seeking DNA expertise in their cases, and we also provide DNA testing services to criminal investigators and police departments.
How did it all end? Read more to find out. For information about forensic DNA testing, call us at 1-800-406-1940 or visit www.forensicdnacenter.com.
May 3rd, 2011
Take a quick look into the DDC Laboratory:
DDC Lab Tour