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DNA IDENTIFICATION INDUSTRY ORGANIZES, SUPPORTS ACCREDITATION PROCESS

DNA IDENTIFICATION INDUSTRY ORGANIZES, SUPPORTS ACCREDITATION PROCESS
 SEATTLE, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by GeneLex:
 The forensic use of DNA typing has been brought to the fore by this week's front page New York Times misrepresentation of the National Research Council's report on the courtroom use of forensic DNA evidence in court has unintentionally done the legal community and forensic science a favor. The major flaw in the reportorial process was to treat an important scientific issue with the same approach that is used to cover city hall. Leaks and innuendo, aimed at discrediting a proven scientific methodology, were intended to deprive the legal community of a primary tool for convicting criminals and exonerating the innocent.
 Earlier this year representatives of the identity testing industry formed a national organization to promote the ethical use of scientifically sound DNA analysis methods. The DNA industry association plans its next meeting in Phoenix at the end of April.
 The identity testing industry association, which includes the leading private sector DNA laboratories in the country, will be involved in the process of developing federally mandated accreditation and proficiency standards. Such standards are recommended in the National Research Council report. Present standard procedures for DNA typing were set by the Technical Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (TWGDAM), and reputable laboratories adhere to those standards.
 The New York Times article suggested that the nation's courts are beset with substandard forensic evidence produced by unaccredited labs. In fact, a variety of programs in various stages of development aimed at quality assurance are being pursued by the following organizations:
 American Association of Blood Banks
 American Board of Criminalistics
 American Society of Crime Lab Directors
 California Association of Criminalists
 Collaborative Testing Service
 College of American Pathologists
 National Institute of Standards and Technology
 Technical Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods
 The NRC committee report concluded that the nation's forensic DNA typing laboratories are doing a good job. The NRC recommends further accreditation and proficiency standards to ensure good practices and, where possible, make them even better.
 In addition to the National Research Council's endorsement of forensic DNA evidence, an earlier report by the United States Office of Technology Assessment stated that, "The scientific basis for DNA typing is sound, and OTA finds that forensic uses of DNA tests are valid. Questions raised about the validity of DNA typing do the courts and public a disservice."
 One of the aims of this new organization is to perform an education service for the legal community, the media and the general public. Members of the developing organization will make themselves available to answer questions about the current status of forensic DNA typing.
 -0- 4/16/92 R
 /CONTACT: Howard Coleman of GeneLex Corp., 206-382-9591/ CO: GeneLex ST: Washington IN: MTC SU:


RM -- SE006 -- 9300 04/16/92 12:25 EDT
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Date:Apr 16, 1992
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