Forensic Biology

Mission

To identify potential sources of DNA on evidence submitted by law enforcement in order to aid criminal investigations.

What we do

  • Examine and test evidentiary items such as sexual assault evidence collection kits, weapons, clothing, and swabs collected in connection with a variety of crimes.
  • Identify DNA sources such as blood, other bodily fluids and debris that can be compared to a potential suspect or victim and entry into the FBI’s DNA database, CODIS, if appropriate.
  • Work closely with investigators to determine the probative value of evidence and evaluate findings.
  • Collaborate with Day One and other agencies to promote awareness and proper evidence collection in sexual assault cases.
  • Work closely with the Rhode Island Cold Case Task Force by providing expertise and assistance to police agencies interested in further testing of biological evidence related to cold, unsolved violent crimes. Using newer technologies and techniques, the laboratory has assisted in several cold cases by providing new investigative leads to aid the police investigation. Extract and generate DNA profiles from evidence samples and database samples using the current FBI core loci. Compare evidentiary DNA profiles to reference samples taken from a victim or suspect. Upload eligible case profiles, convicted felons, and arrestees, to CODIS and compare any potential matches. Notify law enforcement of eligible matches to aid their investigation, both in RI and other states.

Accomplishments

  • First laboratory in New England to successfully gain ISO 17025: 2005 national accreditation to by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). This accreditation has been maintained for the last fifteen years.
  • First in New England to transition to the new and more rigorous ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standards.
  • In 2021 the Forensic Biology lab validated and implemented a new probabilistic genotyping software package called STRmix™. This software program combines biological modeling and mathematical processes to help to resolve complex DNA mixtures and provides statistical calculations for support of DNA inclusions.
  • Maintains a relatively large CODIS database when compared to other states with similar populations.
  • Rhode Island data compiled from the national DNA/CODIS program since inception: Number of convicted felons: 27,334; violent crime arrestees: 484, Forensic profiles: 1,798 Number of RI investigations aided: 681.
  • The National DNA Index (NDIS) contains over 14,454,990 offender profiles, 4,268,064 arrestee profiles and 1,088,817 forensic profiles as of February 2021. Ultimately, the success of the CODIS program will be measured by the crimes it helps to solve. CODIS's primary metric, the "Investigation Aided," tracks the number of criminal investigations where CODIS has added value to the investigative process. As of February 2021, CODIS has produced over 553,629 hits assisting in more than 540,720 investigations. (source: fbi.gov)