Knowledge on DNA success rates to optimize the DNA analysis process: from crime scene to laboratory

Anna A. Mapes, Ate D. Kloosterman, Vincent van Marion, Christianne de Poot

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


DNA analysis has become an essential intelligence tool in the criminal justice system for the identification of possible offenders. However, it appears that about half of the processed DNA samples contains too little DNA for analysis. This study looks at DNA success rates within 28 different categories of trace exhibits and relates the DNA concentration to the characteristics of the DNA profile. Data from 2260 analyzed crime samples show that cigarettes, bloodstains, and headwear have relatively high success rates. Cartridge cases, crowbars, and tie-wraps are on the other end of the spectrum. These objective data can assist forensics in their selection process.The DNA success probability shows a positive relation with the DNA concentration. This finding enables the laboratory to set an evidence-based threshold value in the DNA analysis process. For instance, 958 DNA extracts had a concentration value of 6 pg/μL or less. Only 46 of the 958 low-level extracts provided meaningful DNA profiling data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055
Number of pages1061
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


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