Back to our blog

DNA Enhancement technique accredited for Y-STR profiling

Cellmark’s pioneering DNA Enhancement technique is now accredited for Y-STR profiling

Cellmark has received ISO17025 accreditation from UKAS for the DNA Enhancement of forensic Y-STR profiles (PPY-23).  Developed by Cellmark, DNA Enhancement can significantly increase the strength of low-level forensic DNA profiles, resulting in increased detection sensitivity.

Y-STR profiling specifically targets male DNA (even when there is a high background of female DNA) and the accreditation of Y-STR DNA Enhancement further strengthens the range of specialist techniques available to Cellmark’s forensic scientists for the investigation of a range of crimes including sexual offences.

Forensic scientists already have access to highly sensitive DNA profiling technology.  Autosomal marker systems (DNA-17) as well as Y chromosome markers (PPY-23) are powerful techniques for the investigation of crime, but sometimes further sensitivity is required to help resolve a critical case.  DNA Enhancement of Y-STR profiles can initially double the strength of a low-level profile while further enhancement stages can produce a six-fold increase in DNA profile strength.  This has the potential to reveal DNA information that otherwise might not have been detected.

DNA Enhancement was originally developed by Cellmark during the re-investigation of the Rachel Nickell murder which was featured recently in the opening episode of Cold Case Forensics (still streaming on ITVX).  Cellmark carried out pioneering forensic DNA technology development in the Rachel Nickell case and obtained DNA results that had not previously been possible and which proved to be vital to the investigation.

At Cellmark we specialise in the forensic analysis of sexual offences and recognise that they are uniquely complex forensic investigations.  For many years we have invested in the development of sensitive analytical technologies, supported by tailored forensic strategies, designed to maximise the possibility of obtaining forensic evidence and providing contextualised interpretation that will best assist the Criminal Justice System and the victims of crime.