Cellmark has three decades’ experience of providing specialist forensic DNA analysis to police forces in the UK and around the world. During this time, we have established a wealth of experience through the DNA analysis of tens of thousands of crime scene samples, and have established a reputation for successfully obtaining DNA profiles from small, difficult and compromised biological material.
From our laboratories in Oxfordshire and Lancashire we provide an extensive range of forensic laboratory services for the investigation of a wide range of offences. This includes the examination of exhibits to recover evidence of human contact such as body fluids and other cellular material, from which we can obtain DNA and produce DNA profiling information. In the last 30 years, the technology used to identify and discriminate between the DNA of individuals has developed dramatically. Today we have powerful and highly sensitive molecular biology techniques that can analyse DNA from just a few cells, and advanced instrumentation that can detect and produce DNA results in just a few hours.
Cellmark is an accredited supplier of DNA profiles to the UK National DNA Database® which accepts DNA-17 profiles (16 STR (short tandem repeat) markers plus the gender indicative marker Amelogenin). Cellmark also provides a range of other specialist forensic DNA technologies.
Cellmark has been accredited to submit profiles to the UK National DNA Database since 1998
Mouth swabs or plucked hairs taken under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) are processed in Cellmark’s state-of-the-art laboratory facility in Oxfordshire where extensive investment in automation and laboratory robotics ensures that we provide a rapid and efficient service for our police customers. Our high throughput facility processes thousands of samples each month. Cellmark also processes volunteer samples and other reference material for use in casework as well as samples for inclusion on the Police Central Elimination Database. Our PACE service is accredited to international quality standard ISO 17025 and Cellmark is also accredited by the custodian of the National DNA Database (NDNAD) to submit samples for loading to the NDNAD.
Industry-leading success rates and rapid results from crime scene samples
Each month, Cellmark's DNA laboratories process thousands of samples recovered by the police from crime scenes. Through our contracts with police forces Cellmark is one of the largest contributors of crime scene DNA profiles to the UK National DNA Database® and has gained the reputation of delivering industry-leading success rates and rapid turnaround times from a wide range of evidence types. These samples are processed using a combination of the latest robotic technology and highly skilled forensic analysts. This ensures that DNA profiles obtained from the crime scene samples are rapidly processed, interpreted, checked and submitted for inclusion on the National DNA Database.
Cellmark sets the standard for the obtaining DNA profiles from samples with very low levels of cellular material such as property and clothing items that have only been handled (‘touch DNA’). Our team of interpretation scientists are skilled at analysing low-level profiles and complex mixtures aided by the use of expert software. At Cellmark, we work very closely with our police customers to optimise submission procedures and policies, to ensure best value and the delivery of a rapid responsive service.
DNA technology: the most powerful form of biological forensic identification
Since the first use of DNA profiling by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys in 1987 to help solve the murders of two young women in Leicestershire, DNA technology has revolutionised forensic identification. In the last 30 years, the technology used to identify and discriminate between the DNA of individuals has developed dramatically. Today we have powerful and highly sensitive molecular biology techniques that can analyse DNA from just a few cells, and advanced instrumentation that can detect and produce DNA results in just a few hours.
Major crime cases are often complex, with multiple evidence types and interpretation requirements. Each case is therefore allocated to a reporting scientist who assesses the requirements on receipt, devises an examination and analysis strategy, manages the scientific aspects of the case and ultimately compiles a statement detailing the findings and their interpretations. The reporting scientist works closely with the police investigation team to ensure regular communication as the investigation and forensic analysis progresses.
Cellmark has signed an exclusive collaboration agreement to work with Verogen to establish Cellmark as a UK centre of excellence for forensic Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), also known as Massively Parallel DNA Sequencing (MPS). MPS technology will provide access to far more detailed DNA information than we currently analyse and has the potential to allow greater differentiation for forensic analysis and complex relationship determination.
The Forensic Genomics System uses Illumina’s MiSeq FGx platform and within a single assay we will be able to interrogate:
Included among the many specialist applications will be the ability to provide phenotypic and ancestry estimations; to resolve STR alleles that are identical by size but different by sequence; to provide increased resolution of mixed DNA samples; and the potential to recover additional information from low level and degraded samples.
We have completed a validation of MPS technology and expect to launch this service in the first half of 2020 - in the meantime please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries.
We also offer a broad range of specialist DNA extraction approaches, informative DNA marker systems and high-sensitivity DNA techniques coupled with innovative DNA profile interpretation software and our extensive analysis expertise.