Sexual Assaults / Forensic Paternity / Homicide
A large portion of our laboratory's caseload consists of sexual assault and forensic paternity cases. Many times forensic paternity cases involve the analysis of fetal tissue as evidence. Many police department crime laboratories do not have the resources to work with these types of samples.
Evidence collected from homicide crime scenes can also be processed for DNA by our forensic analysts. Our forensic team has provided law enforcement agencies DNA results that have been instrumental in solving criminal cases.
In addition to routinely performing these analyses, our analysts have testified in numerous local and national court cases. Our laboratory has the capability and experience to perform the complicated statistical analysis required for establishing relationship.
The staff of the DNA Identity Laboratory at the University of North Texas Health Science Center has the knowledge and expertise in assessing the comprehensive and delicate issues involving sexual assault cases.
The UNT Center for Human Identification is one of only a few laboratories in the country to test for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).
Nuclear DNA can be easily damaged by extreme heat and other conditions; therefore, it is not always possible to utilize it for the identification of an individual. Mitochondrial DNA, however, can often be found in very small or damaged DNA samples. DNA analysts typically test for nuclear DNA first. Mitochondrial testing can be attempted when inconclusive results are obtained with nuclear DNA. Successful results are not always obtainable with either form of DNA when the sample is degraded or insufficient.
In forensic casework where evidence is often times limited to a few hairs or a degraded sample, mitochondrial DNA can be critical in supporting proposed relationships and in helping to evaluate all associated case information.