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Low Copy Number DNA testing in the Criminal Justice System

Annex B - Validation and accreditation of the technique


  • Two principal Forensic Science Service papers about LCN have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Further extensive validation covering all the stages of the technique and interpretation of results includes eleven more papers, forty-three internal FSS Research Reports, contributions to several textbooks and a European collaborative exercise.
  • A list of the externally published FSS papers, internal research reports produced and validation that was carried out to support all the stages of the LCN process is available from FSS Headquarters on request.
  • Further work is not 'publishable' in scientific journals since it will no longer be novel – eg; once Dolly the sheep had been cloned, the next cloned sheep was no longer news!
  • The Custodian of the NDNAD sets the standards for DNA profiles that are acceptable for adding to the NDNAD. LCN has been accepted by the Custodian for this purpose since 2002, following successful completion of proficiency tests.
  • In 2007, an external review was commissioned by an ACPO chaired working group. The review accepted that the FSS LCN method was validated according to the processes that were in force within the FSS at the time, although currently not against any internationally or nationally recognised technical standard.
  • The FSS processes have been accredited for LCN to ISO17025 by UKAS (www.ukas.com) since 2001 and ISO9001 by BSI since 2005. Information about these standards can be obtained from (www.iso.org).
  • The guidelines set by the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENSFI) and the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis methods (SWGDAM) have been met.
  • A collaborative study with other European forensic laboratories and the US Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory reported that LCN compared favourably against other methods for testing poor quality samples: (www.cstl.nist.gov/biotech/strbase/pub_pres/EDNAP_degradedDNAstudy.pdf)

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