Impact of DNA typing on standards and practice in the forensic community

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1999 Nov;123(11):1063-5. doi: 10.5858/1999-123-1063-IODTOS.


This article reviews the history of DNA-based human identification from its inception in 1985. Since the development of the technology, experts called for setting of standards and use of proficiency tests for quality assurance measures. The response of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to DNA forensic standards needs was catalyzed by the Technical Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods, sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with funding provided by the National Institute of Justice. Standard reference materials were developed for the original technologies used in DNA identification and for the newer polymerase chain reaction-based technologies. Adoption of recommended standards developed through the Federal Bureau of Investigation-commissioned DNA Advisory Board show the acceptance of National Institute of Standards and Technology standards for calibration of laboratory protocols. New technologies will require a process of validation and continued testing through the use of proficiency tests, such as those provided through the College of American Pathologists. Robotics and parallel processing of samples will lead to increased efficiency in DNA testing. The use of DNA data banks of convicted felons will increase dramatically with the the Federal Bureau of Investigation's national implementation of a computerized identification system known as the Combined DNA Index System. This system that will make major use of short, tandem, repeat genetic systems and will be the major driver of technology for the next 5 to 10 years. Finally, sample collection and training are of major concern for those who look at the long-term impact of DNA testing in forensic laboratories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Fingerprinting / methods*
  • DNA Fingerprinting / standards*
  • DNA Fingerprinting / trends
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine / methods*
  • Forensic Medicine / standards*
  • Forensic Medicine / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Standards
  • United States


  • DNA