Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $473,465)
The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) is a State of Texas criminal justice agency providing forensic DNA analysis to law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Texas at no cost utilizing funds from the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program. The DNA analysis is primarily for UCR, Part 1, Crime Cases, i.e., aggravated assaults, forcible rape, murder, robbery and property crimes. During 2015 UNTCHI completed cases from 53 counties in Texas with approximately 43% of the submissions originating from agencies within Tarrant County. UNTCHI functions as an adjunct laboratory to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) State Crime Laboratory. TXDPS and other agencies within the state routinely refer cases to UNTCHI which require routine DNA analyses and/or mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis including those cases that need familial and/or kinship relatedness statistical analysis.
Services include conducting serological screening of evidentiary samples for identification of biological material for subsequent DNA testing using a variety of marker systems including autosomal short tandem repeats (STRs), Y chromosome STRs and mtDNA. Cases involving degraded samples or samples with a low level male contributor, which typically cannot be detected with traditional autosomal STR systems, have benefited from these additional systems. UNTCHI works closely with both law enforcement and prosecuting agencies to select the most probative samples for DNA testing. This association helps improve laboratory productivity and cost effectiveness and concomitantly provides a form of education to our submitting agencies.
Funds from this award will allow UNTCHI to continue assisting agencies in reducing the number of forensic DNA samples awaiting analysis, maintain or reduce the current turn-around time, and complete the DNA analysis on a minimum of 450 cases. By the end of the award period it is anticipated that each analyst will complete a minimum of 10 cases per month or approximately 20-25 samples per analyst per month, and maintain or decrease the current average turn-around time of 60 days per case. Approximately 1% of cases submitted to UNTCHI require mtDNA analysis which requires additional processing and testing time compared to traditional STR testing. All eligible forensic DNA profiles will be entered into CODIS v7.0 and uploaded into NDIS where applicable.
UNTCHI is accredited by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) under the requirements of ISO 17025 and the FBI's Quality Assurance Standards. In addition to the DNA services, UNTCHI also provides expert witness testimony. nca/ncf