General Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Questions

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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