Forensic Services

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Forensic Services

Yes, we will do our best to get you in contact with the former employee of Bode Cellmark and provide them with all necessary case documents for their testimony.  The process for requesting the testimony assistance of a former employee is the same as outlined above.  To initiate your request, email btdiscovery@LabCorp.com or call (703) 646-9795.

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Subpoenas are accepted via mail, email, fax or legally served. 

If mailing or serving the subpoena, please mail to:

Bode Cellmark Forensics
10430 Furnace Rd., Suite 107
Lorton, VA 22079

If emailing the subpoena, please email to btdiscovery@LabCorp.com.

If faxing the subpoena, please fax to 703-646-9741.

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Yes, using a 13 loci STR system with the mother’s sample, you will usually see a probability of paternity around 99.999%; without the mother, you will see a probability of paternity around 99.9%.

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We can perform the testing at any point following eight weeks gestation, as long as the fetal tissue can be identified or has been isolated. Eight weeks gestation is about the earliest that the fetal tissue can be identified.

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Private laboratories like Bode Cellmark do not have the ability to upload profiles to CODIS. However, we routinely provide state labs with the relevant data that enables profiles generated at Bode Cellmark to be uploaded to CODIS by the relevant agency.

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The sources of biological material containing DNA that are tested at Bode Cellmark include, but are not limited to, blood, saliva, semen (sperm cells), other bodily fluids containing white blood cells (ie mucus, spinal fluid), skin (epithelial cells), hair, tissue, teeth, and bones.

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For the best chance of success, fetal matter should be at least 8 weeks of gestation. Due to the possibility that the mother's DNA could be mixed with that of the fetal matter, a known sample from the mother (eg cheek swab, blood sample) should also be tested. This sample will be used to confirm that the DNA profile obtained is not from the mother.

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Yes, it is possible.  The historical success rate is 80%, but storage conditions and the age of sample can affect success rate.

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Bode Cellmark prefers to work with items that are at least 3mm x 3mm, but may be able to produce a DNA profile from smaller areas, depending on type and concentration of the stain (semen, blood, saliva, etc.). Typically, a semen or blood stain yields the most DNA.

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  • In sexual assault cases when the ratio of female-to-male DNA is high;
  • In sexual assault cases when there may be mixtures of DNA from more than two contributors, with at least one being male;
  • In cases where fingernail clippings, bite marks and breast swabs are being tested (these samples cannot be separated into male and female DNA cell types using regular STR techniques);
  • In sexual assault cases when a sample has screened positive for semen, but no spermatozoa are observed.

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Crime labs, police departments, sheriffs' offices, prosecutors, public defenders, and private attorneys must provide a court order stating who is responsible for payment. If no court order is provided, payment is due prior to testing of samples.

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Depending on the item, it may either be swabbed or cut during the screening process.

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Yes, Bode Cellmark was one of the first in the industry to process casework using miniSTR DNA analysis. MiniSTRs are designed to increase the likelihood of obtaining a full DNA profile from compromised samples. The miniSTR amplification kit targets the largest loci in the STR amplification kit that may not be identified with standard STR. Bode Cellmark’s validation studies for miniSTRs show a full reportable profile with as little as 62pg of input DNA, compared to 200pg for standard STR.

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Please contact us for pricing details.

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Yes, Bode Cellmark may be able to offer a quicker turnaround time, depending on several factors. Please contact Bode Cellmark’s customer service specialists for details.

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  • Feces
  • Cremated remains
  • Samples in formaldehyde

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A written report will be issued that indicates either the presence or absence of biological fluids on each item. If the client has instructed Bode Cellmark to proceed with DNA testing of each positive stain, then the screening results will be included on the DNA report.

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Yes, a case review can be performed by Bode Cellmark’s experts. A list of relevant discovery materials necessary for a complete case review can be provided upon request. Please contact us for our price schedule information.

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Yes, Bode Cellmark can re-test samples from another lab.

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Chain of custody begins at the point of origin when the client packages the sample(s) for shipment to Bode Cellmark. Each piece of evidence must be accompanied by a completed chain-of-custody document and must be sent by a nationally-recognized courier with a tracking number that can be used to maintain the chain of custody. Alternatively, samples can be delivered in person to the Bode Cellmark laboratory. Once received by Bode Cellmark, each transfer of evidence is documented by the Bode Cellmark lab technicians who are handling the evidence.

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If a case has already been submitted, you may obtain case status information by contacting our forensic customer service specialists. You will be required to submit relevant case information and identify yourself.

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Chain of custody is a documentation system used to track the movement of the evidence from the client through the Bode Cellmark laboratory and back to the client.

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Yes, Bode Cellmark can examine a piece of evidence and test visible stains for the presence of semen, blood and saliva. This can be done for single cases only on a per item basis or for contract clients on a larger scale. Small items such as panties, condoms and sexual assault kits will be billed on a per item basis. Larger bulk items will be billed on an hourly basis.

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10-20 ccs are typically required to generate a DNA profile.

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A forensic paternity case is one that is required as part of a criminal investigation, such as incest or an underage mother or an abandoned infant. Court-ready reports will be issued for all such cases (where a proper chain of custody is provided) and expert testimony will be available to support our written results as well.

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  • Animal and plant forensic DNA testing
  • Urinalysis and hair analysis for drugs or any substance
  • Drug testing
  • Toxicology
  • ABO blood typing
  • Screening for genetic abnormalities
  • HIV testing
  • Traditional fingerprinting
  • Ballistics or gunshot residue testing

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Refer to the Accreditations section of our website.

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Since it is possible that there might be hair samples from more than one individual in a group of hairs, it is our policy to work with hairs on an individual basis. Therefore, we only need one hair sample for mitochondrial DNA analysis.

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Bode Cellmark prefers to work with hair samples that are 10-20 mm. However, if the hair sample is lighter in color and/or is a fine texture, a longer hair might be required. Mitochondrial testing can be attempted on hairs shorter than 10mm if the client wishes.

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Yes. Typical success rate is greater than 80%, but is dependent on how long the tissue has been preserved in the chemical fixatives commonly used in biopsy samples. 

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Typically, long dense bones (about 2 to 3 inches) such as a femur work well, depending on the age and storage of the person's remains. Intact molar teeth with no fillings or cavities also work well. 

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We would recommend sending the femur if available. If the femur is not an option, then a molar or the next largest load-bearing bone available would be the best option. Bode Cellmark has been successful with obtaining full DNA profiles from highly-compromised bone fragments, including victims from Hurricane Katrina and the attack on the World Trade Center.

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If the cremation temperature was lower than 1500 degrees Celsius, teeth may have survived and could be processed for STR or mtDNA analysis.

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We recommend that hair be at least 2 cm in length for testing.

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Yes, mitochondrial testing is the only DNA testing option provided at Bode Cellmark for this type of hair sample.

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The report will indicate whether the sequence for the individual associated with the reference sample is consistent with the sequence associated with the evidence item or may be excluded as a contributor to the evidence item.

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We can examine the hair for STR suitability. The suitability will depend on whether there is a root attached and the stage of growth of the hair. Based on our examination, we will make a recommendation for nuclear or mitochondrial testing.

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Y-STR testing is beneficial in the case of a mixture with a major component female STR profile and a few alleles from a male contributor. A partial to full Y-STR profile would most likely be obtained because the Y-STR primers can focus on the male DNA without the female DNA interfering with the interpretation. Y-STR testing can be useful for samples believed to have originated from azospermic or vasectomized males, as well as non-sexual samples such as mixed DNA profiles from touch evidence tested from fingernails, clothing, and guns.

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Bode Cellmark offers STR amplification using commercially available kits for the generation of the core CODIS 13 loci, including both the Hitachi and Applied Biosystems platforms using Promega’s PowerPlex® 16 System and PowerPlex® 16 BIO System and the Applied Biosystems AmpFLSTR® Profiler Plus®, COfiler®, Identifiler® and MiniFilerTM PCR amplification kits.

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Once the sample arrives, we will do an assessment. We can extract and quant the sample. The quant value will give us an indication of whether miniSTR or standard STR will be necessary.

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One sperm head contains approximately 3pg (picograms) of DNA. We target 500-1000pg of DNA to produce at least a low level YSTR profile, which is about 160 – 333 sperm cells. Ideally 100+ sperm cells will produce a full Y-STR profile.

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Bode Cellmark offers a reference sample collection kit that is designed with our patented Bode Buccal DNA Collector and easily collects a reference sample from the buccal (cheek) cells of the individual. Please contact our Technical Services department at (866) 263-3443 x787 for more information or to order a reference collection kit.

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Anything that the individual’s saliva has come into contact with could be used as a reference sample. We would recommend items such as a discarded cigarette butt, chewing gum, a toothbrush, or soda can.

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Depending on how the envelope was sealed, we may be able to test to determine the individual who may have licked the seal. Generally, we would take small cuttings from areas such as the envelope flap and process them for DNA analysis in order to obtain the profile(s).

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Yes, Bode Cellmark has available a number of methods of screening for the presence of biological fluids such as blood, semen, or saliva.

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LCN is used on items in cases where only minimal contact has occurred or there are only small quantities of cells/DNA present. Unlike touch DNA, these samples are processed through a higher number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) cycles which may be able to obtain a DNA profile when conventional PCR cannot. LCN is usually only used on a sample that has already been processed and has an indication of the presence of DNA, but cannot be re-worked any further using standard DNA methods.

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Bode Cellmark uses a touch evidence procedure for processing samples from areas where you would expect to find DNA (in the form of skin cells) from a person who has come in contact with the item.  An example is the handle of a murder weapon or a pair of pants that have been pulled down. The success of touch DNA depends on the sampling method, the type of material, and the shedding capabilities of the suspect, as some people naturally leave behind more skin cells.

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It is highly unlikely that the shed skin cells will remain on an item of clothing that has been laundered.

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Bode Cellmark has had success in obtaining DNA results from fingerprints. These prints have been processed with ninhydrin, deferoxamine (DFO), cyanoacrylate, and a variety of powders; we have found that they do not inhibit the DNA. The success rate is highly dependent on the number of cells that are associated with the fingerprints.

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