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An evidence bag from a sexual assault case in the biology lab at the Houston Forensic Science Center. (Photo: Pat Sullivan/Associated Press)

Hundreds of sexual assault kits in Austin police storage have been determined to have mold growing on the outside of them, prompting officials to seek guidance from state and national experts about how to properly preserve the evidence and raising questions about whether forensic samples may have been compromised.

So far, officials said they have no indication that the mold will prevent analysts from obtaining DNA samples and that, because the kits had never been tested, evidence from them has never been used to build a case against or convict a defendant.

An Austin company recently hired to help test the kits reported to Austin police last week that “there were no observable issues with any of the samples they processed with the case reported to have mold,” Assistant Police Chief Troy Gay wrote in a memo Friday. Lab staff successfully obtained a DNA profile from the first kit found to have mold, officials said.

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