With the advent of forensic DNA profiling in the mid-1980s, this technology has had a positive impact on the criminal justice system, helping to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent. The field has evolved from focusing on multilocus markers throughout the nuclear DNA genome to the use of autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) markers. Other marker systems such as mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal STR testing have also found an important niche for the identification of missing persons and historical investigations. Given the importance of forensic DNA testing, it is critical that laboratories include proper controls and validated procedures for making quality measurements. In the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed several standard reference materials (SRMs) to meet the needs of the forensic DNA community. Here, we discuss a brief history of forensic DNA testing and the development of NIST SRMs and educational resources for the field over the last 20 years.
- DNA quantification
- Forensic DNA testing
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (USA)
- Short tandem repeat
- Standard reference materials