The Organization of Scientific Regional Committees (OSAC) for the Subcommittee on Human Forensic Biology of Forensic Medicine, with the input of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM), has developed a map of the human forensic DNA analysis process that captures details of the various procedures. methods and decision points that are most common in human forensic biology / DNA analysis.
Forensic service providers make many decisions that can affect the quality and accuracy of results. Process mapping is a visual representation of critical steps and decision points of a process and is a useful tool that can help forensic disciplines to get an idea of their specific activities. The map of the process of human forensic DNA analysis can be beneficial to the discipline by providing a behind-the-scenes look at the various components and decision points in the process of human forensic biology / DNA analysis.
“A detailed map of the process allows us to understand the discipline in its current state. We need to fully understand a process to improve it, “said Beth Ordemann, chairman of the OSAC Subcommittee on Human Forensic Biology.
This process map, which captures the diverse practices of many laboratories from a national perspective, provides a visual description of the various steps in the casework process currently being performed by DNA analysts. It is designed to be used to improve efficiency while reducing errors, highlights gaps where further research or standardization would be useful, and supports the training of new examiners. It can also be used to develop specific laboratory policies and identify best practices.
“This process map will help us generate ideas to improve the process. Understanding how work is currently being done can facilitate the development of future standards and best practice documents, “Ordeman said.
OSAC is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which works to strengthen forensic practice through research and improved standards. NIST’s research program facilitated the development of this process map by collaborating with the OSAC Subcommittee on Human Forensic Biology. Additional maps of the processes for firearms inspections, friction edge inspections, and speaker recognition have been created.