DNA Testing for Legal Counsels - Witness Court Testimony


The Kelly-Frye standard

The Kelly-Frye standard was stated in its original form in Frye v. United States (1923) 293 F.1013., and was adopted by the California Supreme Court in People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24. The Kelly-Frye standard mandates that test results used as evidence must be generally accepted within the relevant portions of the scientific community, and excludes from evidence any test results from scientifically unproven methods. The standard is thus also referred to as the "general-acceptance" standard. A separate method for evaluation of scientific findings for admission as evidence is the "sound-methodology" standard applied in Daubert v. Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals , 113 S.Ct. 2786 (1993). Genex satisfies both the Kelly-Frye / general-acceptance as well as the sound-methodology standards.

Genex meets or exceeds all Kelly-Frye standards

Genex has committed to being one of the foremost DNA typing laboratories worldwide. Genex's commitments to the most stringent scientific and technical evaluations of its methods, which meet or exceed Kelly-Frye standards, are definitively supported by the following facts:

Genex is accredited to ISO 17025 testing laboratory standards and has therefore been thoroughly inspected and approved by a government third-party institute to meet or exceed all ISO 17025 standards. The Kelly-Frye standard is a subset of the ISO 17025 standard as indicated. In addition, beginning with People v Castro , 144 Misc. 2d 956, 545 N.Y.S. 2d 985 (Sup. Ct. 1989), some courts have grafted additional requirements to the general Kelly-Frye standard, requiring that testing laboratories conform to generally accepted protocols as a procedural safeguard to minimize potential laboratory error. Genex has conformed to all the above stated standards, and its conformance to these standards is verified by accreditation to ISO 17025 as follows:

  • All methods are documented according to approved, scientifically and technically validated institutional Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • All case records are documented according to approved institutional SOPs.
  • Laboratory personnel and case file analysts/examiners are properly qualified according to approved institutional requirements.
  • Specimens for testing are stored according to approved institutional SOPs.
  • Population database and other reference materials are of documented and reliable origin.
  • Reagents and consumables are ordered from accredited manufacturers.
  • Laboratory undergoes proficiency testing.
  • Equipment are monitored according to approved institutional SOPs.
  • Reports are written according to approved institutional SOPs.
  • Only standard procedures and validated protocols are used.

Genex is accredited by the AABB Parentage Testing Accreditation unit and as such complies with the most well recognized parentage accreditation body in the United States. AABB accreditation involves a stringent on-site assessment of quality system and procedural qualifications, involving a direct audit of random paternity files to assess compliance to its standards. The AABB accreditation overlaps with the ISO 17025 requirements, focusing more on specific paternity testing issues, while ISO 17025 examines compliance to a quality system to ensure reliability and conformity in results produced by the laboratory.

Genex participates in the Parentage Proficiency Testing Program of the College of American Pathologists, the premiere provider of clinical proficiency testing services in the United States.

Genex uses standard and proven methods in the analysis of samples for parentage casework. Genex does not use unproven or experimental methods that have not been either commercially or scientifically validated.

Genex reports are statements of scientific fact in the form of a CPI and percentage probability, both being standard expressions of likelihood of paternity that are scientific standards. The reports do not contain statements of subjective opinion that can be excluded on the basis of the Kelly-Frye standard.

Genex uses solely the STR method of genetic DNA analysis as opposed to the RFLP method. In addition to other practical benefits such as increased biological sample detection sensitivity and decreased turnaround time, the STR method provides a direct allelic genotype whereas the RFLP method makes use of a method known as "binning". Binning is an estimate of the allelic genotype where a comparison against a direct allelic ladder is not possible, and has been questioned in courts of law. The STR method is the same method currently employed by the FBI in determining genetic profiles for forensic investigations.

Genex uses the Applied Biosystems AmpFlSTR Identifiler system. The system is scientifically and commercially validated, and is an improved version of the Applied Biosystems AmplFlSTR Profiler Plus system currently used by the FBI in its forensic investigations.

Genex employs, and makes available for every instance where required for testimony in court, an expert witness with the following qualifications:

  • Possess a true doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in molecular biology
  • Able to testify on the statistical analysis of testing outcomes, findings, and results
  • Specializes in DNA parentage testing
  • Able to testify to laboratory procedures and chain-of-custody

Expert Testimony

Genex will provide expert testimony for trials and hearings.

United States v. Jakobetz, 747 F. Supp. 250 (D. Vt. 1990), aff'd , 955 F.2d 786 (2d Cir. 1992), cert. denied , 113 S. Ct. 109 (1992); United States v. Yee, 134 F.R.D. 161 (N.D. Ohio 1991), aff'd sub nom , United States v Bonds, 12 F.3d 540 (6 th Cir. 1993).

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