The purpose of a screening system is to quickly and cost-effectively determine which biological samples provide the most probative information in a large population of DNA samples.
No one can dispute that DNA analysis has achieved wide acceptance from both the public and members of the legal system. There is also a general recognition that DNA can provide key scientific evidence in court, confirmed by the growing number of high-profile court cases built on DNA evidence. Not coincidentally, the number of samples being collected for analysis in forensic labs is outgrowing the capacity to process them.
Forensic laboratories face the same challenges encountered by other organizations. Limited funds are a common concern for nearly every laboratory. DNA analysis reagents are expensive and include plastic ware, STR systems, Taq DNA polymerase, etc. These costs are augmented by high equipment and overhead costs. A personnel shortage is often more of a limitation than the cost of materials. Insufficient staff is frequently listed as one of the factors preventing laboratories from eliminating backlogs.
Adopting a screening system can help alleviate many of the cost and time constraints facing human identification labs. The ultimate goal is to obtain quality results while increasing efficiency and cost effectiveness.
What exactly is a screening system, and what is its purpose?
A screening system can be defined as an STR system that amplifies a limited number of genetic markers. The purpose of the screening system is to quickly and cost-effectively determine which biological samples provide the most probative information in a large population of DNA samples. The selected samples then can undergo full profiling, including analysis of all 13 core CODIS loci.