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, 18, 4-20

U.S. Initiatives to Strengthen Forensic Science & International Standards in Forensic DNA


U.S. Initiatives to Strengthen Forensic Science & International Standards in Forensic DNA

John M Butler. Forensic Sci Int Genet.


A number of initiatives are underway in the United States in response to the 2009 critique of forensic science by a National Academy of Sciences committee. This article provides a broad review of activities including efforts of the White House National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Forensic Science and a partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create the National Commission on Forensic Science and the Organization of Scientific Area Committees. These initiatives are seeking to improve policies and practices of forensic science. Efforts to fund research activities and aid technology transition and training in forensic science are also covered. The second portion of the article reviews standards in place or in development around the world for forensic DNA. Documentary standards are used to help define written procedures to perform testing. Physical standards serve as reference materials for calibration and traceability purposes when testing is performed. Both documentary and physical standards enable reliable data comparison, and standard data formats and common markers or testing regions are crucial for effective data sharing. Core DNA markers provide a common framework and currency for constructing DNA databases with compatible data. Recent developments in expanding core DNA markers in Europe and the United States are discussed.

Keywords: Core DNA markers; Forensic science; National Commission on Forensic Science; Organization of Scientific Area Committees; Standard reference materials; Standards.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Organizational chart reflecting the 33 operating units of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) as of April 2015. SAC: Scientific Area Committee, Sub: subcommittee.

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