Increasing Capacity through Automation
The demand for DNA testing is increasing due to new legislation, importance to criminal investigations, and the impact that DNA evidence is having to resolve criminal cases.
Bode has worked hard to develop testing programs to meet our clients' needs including:
- High-throughput sexual assault testing/ backlog reduction
- Property crime back-log reduction
- DNA Databasing solutions
- Real-time, fast turnaround sexual assault kit testing
Automated Processes at Bode
Automation is a key element in increasing capacity while maintain quality, as it decreases the number of manual transfers, thereby decreasing the possibility for human error.
Multiple extraction methods have been validated for use at Bode to allow the most appropriate method for the case type and sample quality. Along with optimized sampling techniques, Bode has also optimized magnetic bead extraction technologies for improved recovery of touch DNA. For most extractions, Bode has combined the power of QIAGEN’s extraction chemistry with Hamilton’s newest and most advanced high-throughput robotic platform. The majority of extractions are currently performed robotically using:
- QIAGEN DNA Investigator kit on the QIAGEN EZ1 BioRobots; or
- QIAGEN Lyse & Prep kit on the Hamilton Vantage
Bode has two (2) Hamilton Vantage robots and five (5) EZ1xl robots available for extraction which allow for an extraction capacity of over 1,500 samples per day.
Automated Differential Extractions: Use of DNase
In an effort to improve the quality and efficiency of sexual assault kit testing, Bode validated and implemented an automated enzyme based differential extraction using DNase. This procedure allows for cleaner differential extractions and more single source sperm fractions and greatly reduces the time required to test and technically review a sexual assault kit. This method allowed Bode to triple its monthly sexual assault kit capacity while at the same time saving approximately one hour per case in technical review time which benefits both Bode and our clients. Bode has tested over 60,000 sexual assault kits using this automated method.
For obtaining DNA profiles from difficult samples, Bode utilizes several measures that may be determined by the analyst and based on sample quality. These methods include concentrating the extract to maximize the total input DNA and/or attempting other validated procedures for problematic samples.