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Paleo-DNA laboratory the first university lab accredited for forensic testing


Thunder Bay, ON – August 16, 2004 – Lakehead University’s paleo-DNA laboratory has become the first university laboratory in Canada to become accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) for forensic DNA testing.

“Accreditation of the Paleo-DNA laboratory is an incredible event,” says Dr Carney Matheson, director of the laboratory. “Only a handful of private laboratories are accredited by the SCC for forensic biology/DNA testing. This is testament that our lab conducts world-class DNA and forensic research. Our state-of-the-art services and research facility, together with our highly trained staff, position the paleo-DNA laboratory as a world leader in forensic identification of highly degraded and difficult DNA samples.”

Currently, all six RCMP laboratories and a handful of private labs are accredited for forensic biology/DNA by the SCC and conform to ISO standards ISO/IEC 17025.

“Accreditation of the paleo-DNA laboratory represents an important milestone for this world-class facility which has developed from the research activity of Lakehead University’s faculty,” says Dr Fred Gilbert, president, Lakehead University.

It is important to have independent verification of quality and quality controls through accreditation in the forensic DNA and paternity testing field. Law enforcement agencies require laboratories to be accredited to maintain a level of quality of work and to sub-contract services from other laboratories. The demand for forensic services has increased over the past year as all law enforcement agencies continue to have extremely large backlogs of cases. Currently, the laboratory continues to get numerous inquiries each month for forensic cases, the majority of which are from the Canadian police forces and agencies in the US.

The paleo-DNA laboratory specializes in forensic DNA testing for any type of genetic tests required for criminal and civil cases, body identification, and other forensic cases. These tests can include animal and species identification testing for conservation and wildlife forensic cases, and individual identification using STR’s (short tandem repeats), Y-STR’s (Y chromosome Short Tandem Repeats), and mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA).

The paleo-DNA laboratory team says it has developed unique expertise in identification from extremely degraded and hard-to-obtain DNA biological materials.