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FBI, NIST to Add DNA Markers for Criminal Investigation Profiles

The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the FBI have collaborated to add seven DNA markers in profiles related to criminal investigations in a move scheduled to take effect January 2017.

NIST said Thursday forensic laboratories currently analyze a set of 13 genetic markers to generate profiles that are submitted to FBI’s National DNA Index System.

Criminal laboratories worked to update protocols and apply the bureau’s quality assurance standards in an effort to meet the Jan. 1, 2017 deadline.

NIST said NDIS needs to increase markers to support the certainty of DNA identifications since the system expanded to include approximately 16 million profiles related to criminal investigations and 30,000 for missing person cases.

The agency said the additional markers will also help forensic analysts gather more information in cases where the DNA has started to break down and analysts cannot accurately measure some markers.

NIST research geneticist Mike Coble and his team tested more than 1,000 candidate markers and chose three short markers that are more likely to remain intact after the DNA has begun to break down as well as four markers that showed high variability.

Scientists from the FBI and NIST tested 20-marker profiling kits from different manufacturers against DNA with known profiles to validate the accuracy of results.

FBI gave crime laboratories two years to produce the new kits and pass a series of quality assurance tests.

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