A prospective cost–benefit analysis for nylon 4N6FLOQSwabs®: example of the process and potential benefits

Bruce Budowle, Jianye Ge, Antti Sajantila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Laboratories and their criminal justice systems are confronted with challenges for implementing new technologies, practices, and policies even when there appears to be demonstrative benefits to operational performance. Impacting decisions are the often higher costs associated with, for example, new technologies, limited current budgets, and making hard decisions on what to sacrifice to take on the seemingly better approach. A prospective cost–benefit analysis (CBA) could help an agency better formulate its strategies and plans and more importantly delineate how a relatively small increase to take on, for example, a new technology can have large impact on the system (e.g., the agency, other agencies, victims and families, and taxpayers). To demonstrate the process and potential value a CBA was performed on the use of an alternate and more expensive swab with reported better DNA yield and being certified human DNA free (i.e., nylon 4N6FLOQSwabs®), versus the traditional less costly swab (i.e., cotton swab). Assumptions are described, potential underestimates and overestimates noted, different values applied (for low and modest to high), and potential benefits (monetary and qualitative) presented. The overall outcome is that the cost of using the more expensive technology pales compared with the potential tangible and intangible benefits. This approach could be a guide for laboratories (and associated criminal justice systems) worldwide to support increased funding, although the costs and benefits may vary locally and for different technologies, practices, and policies. With well-developed CBAs, goals of providing the best services to support the criminal justice system and society can be attained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1541-1549
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of legal medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Cost–benefit analysis
  • Cotton swab
  • Database
  • Forensic genomics
  • Nylon 4N6FLOQSwabs®
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Tangible and intangible benefits


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