Release date 2016/12/16 10:23:55 Update date 2019/05/06 15:02:29

Forensic DNA Laboratory

 

Forensic serology laboratory, the forerunner of the modern forensic DNA laboratory, was established in 1958. The major missions of the former laboratory included causes of death investigation, biological evidence examinations and paternity tests which were entrusted by Courts and Prosecutors offices. Because the mission of cause of death investigation was transferred to the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Ministry of Justice (formerly as Forensic Medicine Center attached to High Court) in 1990, the laboratory concentrates attentions from then on DNA technique developments and offers more DNA related examination services nowadays. In 2009, this modern laboratory passed the ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation certified by the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF) and proved to be the first accredited forensic DNA laboratory in Taiwan.

There are more than 600 cases, over than 10,000 samples, have to be analyzed each year. Lab works are divided into 5 types of work-station and staffs take turns being in charge of one of the work-station for four months. The workflow was designed to be as simplified and automated as possible in order to decrease operation errors, contamination and at the same time to increase work efficiency. Routine cases can be finished in two to three weeks following the standard operation procedures.

This laboratory offers services as follows:

  1. Physical evidence examination and identification
  2. Kinship test
  3. Wildlife parts and products examination and identification

 

  1. Physical evidence examination and identification

The specimens sampling from evidences produced in courts or crime scenes, such as blood stains, semen stains, cigarette butts, hair, weapons, human remains and urine from drug abusers can be analyzed in this laboratory. The body fluid identifications such as blood or semen stains should be performed at first and other samples identifications were done by certain methods. After the recognition step, the DNA extraction and PCR reaction could proceed accordingly. Usually the specimens were decomposed with smell, staffs must wear head caps, masks and gloves to protect both themselves and specimens and keep the specimens from contamination.

  1. Kinship test

Social welfare agency of local governments/ their authorized organizations, or civilians can apply kinship test directly to this laboratory, appointments should be made by telephone/fax or document application. The applicants must come to this laboratory by personally with their ID cards for saliva collections and fill in their recording sheets. The minimal expense for one sample test is NT$ 6,000 by conducting DNA STR profiling, additional charge will be paid NT$ 1,500 or 2,300 for one extra test in one sample by performing other profiling systems if necessary.

This laboratory offers all kinds of kinship identification included paternity/maternity, sibling/half-sibling, grandparents vs. grandchildren and further blood-related kinship tests to deal with the variety of clients’ demand.

For paternity cases, the samples will be profiled at least by 20 STR core loci and further mtDNA sequencing, Y STR and X STR identification will be performed if necessary to increase the likelihood ratio till over 10,000 and probability over 99.99%. For other kinship cases, the probability should reach over 99% to make a definite kinship conclusion.

  1. Wildlife parts and products examination and identification

According to Wildlife Conservation Act, it is prohibited to hunt and sell conserve wildlife parts or wildlife products. However, it is difficult to identify whether the traditional Chinese medicine adulterated with processed wildlife products by appearance as well as serology and immunology. This laboratory developed a method named mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence analysis to resolve this issue. The wildlife species were reported after retrieving sequences from NCBI BLAST databases.

 

 

  1. Analysis equipment

Biological Safety Cabinet

Biological Safety Cabinet

 

 

 

PCR machine

 

 

 

PCR machine

 

 

PCR product detection system

 

 

PCR product detection system

 

 

 

Real-Time PCR

 

 

 

Real-Time PCR

 

 

 

Genetic Analyzer

 

 

 

Genetic Analyzer

 

 

 

Genetic Analyzer

 

 

 

Genetic Analyzer