Forensic DNA Testing | Criminal Case Work
Our Laboratory has been providing quality, state-of-the-art forensic services, laboratory analysis, professional consultations and courtroom testimony since 1978. Our long term success can be attributed to our ideology that quality work produces quality results. In addition to using the latest cutting edge technologies, we use a non-robotic approach to the extraction of DNA from difficult, minimal and/or old DNA samples that provides a level of sensitivity that cannot be matched. Our combination of state-of-the-art technology and hands-on approach to DNA analysis allows us to obtain DNA profiles from as little as 1/10th of a nanogram of DNA – little more than fourteen human cells.
In addition to our incredible sensitivity, we provide customized professional services that focus on our client’s needs. We understand that each case is unique and may require a wide range of forensic tests to obtain all of the pertinent information. In order to determine the needs of each case, as always, we offer a free initial comprehensive case consultation. The availability of SERI's staff does not end when a final report is issued. Our staff is available to discuss the results of each case in detail at any time after the analysis is completed. Choose SERI, choose quality.
SERI’s turn-around time for casework is typically measured in weeks, not months or years. Please refer to our Expedited Processing section for a list of our Rush services.
Forensic DNA Testing
• M-Vac Trace DNA Sampling
The M-Vac system provides a revolutionary new way to sample forensic samples for DNA. By using a small, sterile solution-vacuum system, the M-Vac is able to extract DNA trapped within cloth over a wide area to provide results even where traditional swabbing or cutting techniques have failed. See our press release here.
SERI has provided the forensic community with reliable Short Tandem Repeat (STR) DNA testing of biological samples since 1996. Analysts have processed thousands of evidence samples involving homicide, rape, paternity and other forensic cases using the core CODIS loci recognized as standard by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Additional loci are also available in cases where more genetic information is necessary for identification.
Profiler Plus ®
COfiler ® (CODIS 13 core loci)
Identifiler ® (CODIS 13 core loci plus 2 additional loci)
Identifiler ® Plus (enhanced sensitivity, higher peak heights from low level samples. Attains superior results in firearms and touch DNA cases)
MiniFiler ® (achieves higher success rate in degraded or environmentally challenged samples)
Standard STR testing can be supplemented with male-specific (Y-chromosome specific) YSTR testing. This testing only amplifies DNA found on the Y chromosome and is used as a resource for distinguishing a male contributor's genetic profile. SERI has provided clients with valuable genetic information in cases made difficult by special considerations such as:
A low number of sperm are identified and a complete genetic profile using standard STR testing was not possible.
The need to obtain a male profile in the presence of an overwhelming amount of female DNA.
The need to obtain a male profile from vasectomized or aspermic males.
The need to distinguish a mixture of multiple male donors.
• Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing
This highly sensitive technique may be required to generate the necessary genetic information if STR analysis cannot be performed. Mitochondrial DNA sequencing is useful in cases where samples consist of hair shafts, bones, teeth or are highly degraded, aged or putrefied. Because mitochondrial DNA is inherited maternally, all relatives in the maternal lineage have the same mitochondrial DNA sequence. Because of this, mitochondrial sequencing provides less information about the source of DNA samples than does STR analysis.
In addition, we maintain the availability of HLADQa, a system which was once widely utilized by laboratories in the past. This older DNA technology is frequently useful, and often necessary, in examining new evidence in older cases where evidence samples are no longer available for testing with newer methods.
• Professional Consultation
We routinely assist clients by designing an approach to their biological evidence which is guaranteed to provide the most effective and efficient ways to locate, identify and type limited stain material.
Body fluids such as blood, semen, saliva, urine and feces are frequently crucial evidence in criminal cases. Our scientists are experts at providing assistance to legal and law enforcement professionals as well as corporations and private individuals.
Technical advances in forensic biology have produced a new era in biological evidence analysis. Consequently, the interpretation of results can be quite complex. Our analysts have the ability to communicate not only the science, but the real and practical meaning of this highly technical information.
The forensic expertise and skill, education, and experience of SERI’s analysts make us the best experts in the field to provide you with advice and answers to your questions.
• Case Evidence Analysis
SERI analysts examine your evidence in our modern, state-of-the-art laboratory using an array of forensic techniques which include alternative light sources, sensitive chemical tests, immunoelectrophoresis and microscopic examinations. We are able to locate and identify biological stains on garments, weapons, vehicles and household items. The stains are then isolated and removed for further testing. Once the nature of the stain is established, further testing to determine the likely individual source of the stain becomes the analytical focus.
SERI scientists handle every item of evidence with meticulous care, insuring that we fulfill our commitment to provide the best custodial as well as analytical attention to every item from every case submitted to our laboratory.
• Conventional Serology
Some samples in older cases require reanalysis utilizing the same conventional serology methods and markers used by the original testing laboratory. This is especially useful in cases where none of the original evidence remains or all of the evidence has been destroyed, and investigators need to compare the genetic profiles of newly developed suspects to the original case evidence results. SERI provides the following "classic" methods in conventional serology:
Serum Protein Typing
Most laboratories are unable to maintain proficiency in these older techniques and SERI is pleased to be able to offer the service to those who need it.
• Expert Testimony
All of SERI's analysts are court qualified expert witnesses. Our scientists have provided effective testimony in trials in most states in the U.S. SERI experts have testified in criminal and civil matters for prosecution, plaintiff and defense attorneys. In addition to testimony, they are able to provide assistance in planning cross-examination of opposing experts. This service can be provided independent of conducting lab analysis.
• Specializing In
Sexual Assault/Rape Cases
Cold Case Evidence
SERI takes pride in having one of the fastest average case turnaround times of any forensic laboratory, with most cases being completed in six weeks or less. However there are occasions when even six weeks is not fast enough. For those times, SERI offers several levels of expedited processing. We even have the capability to analyze a case in as little as 48 hours (subject to testing requirements). Email or call us for a free consultation.
Rush Timelines, Same Great Quality
- 20 Business Days
- 10 Business Days
- 5 Business Days
- 48 Hours
All expedited services include a written Analytical Report. Unfortunately, cases involving Mitochondrial DNA or Sexual Assault Kits cannot be processed within 48 hours. "Clock" begins 1st business day after receipt of all evidence to be analyzed.
Quality Standards and Accreditations
SERI’s highly skilled and trained analysts are committed to providing reliable, accurate results of the highest quality for its clients. As part of this commitment, SERI has maintained accreditation by ASCLD/LAB since 1999 and is currently accredited to ASCLD/LAB-International
. SERI maintains compliance with the FBI Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories verified through continual on-site visits and complete quality assurance audits. In addition, SERI has been accredited by the Texas Department of Public Safety.