DNA Analysis


The DNA Analysis Unit routinely examines evidence for the presence of biological material, develops DNA profiles utilizing scientific techniques, analyzes and interprets data. Using the analysts’ interpretations, conclusions can be drawn as to whether or not an individual is able to be included as a possible contributor to the DNA profile identified on the evidence. In circumstances where a suspect has not been identified, the DNA evidence profile can be entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) for routine search against individuals required by State Law to provide a reference DNA sample and other DNA evidence samples. This technology provides potential for unknown DNA evidence profiles to be associated with a known individual thus creating investigative leads for the submitting law enforcement agencies.  The DNA Analysis Units are located in two Bureau locations: Madison and Milwaukee. To support the unit, there are almost sixty analyst and technician positions. 


The DNA Analysis Unit also performs specialized DNA testing referred to as Y STR testing. Y STR analysis develops DNA profiles from males which may be useful in sexual assault cases where the amount of male DNA present may be low compared to the high amount of female DNA present in the evidence. All DNA analysts, at the WSCLB, are qualified to perform Y STR analysis.


A DNA Analysis Submission Questionnaire is available.  Please complete this questionnaire prior to and include with the submission of evidence for DNA analysis.  A reference for the DNA Submission Guidelines is also available.


DNA Analysis : Caseload and Case Type


In 2016 the DNA Analysis Unit saw an 13% increase in cases submitted for analysis. The increase in complex case submissions as well as the significant validation outlined below affected the overall turnaround time.  As demonstrated in the graph below, almost 50% of the caseload in the Unit are high priority cases, or those having a public safety concern (sexual assaults, homicides, and crimes against children).  Cases with a public safety concern remain the highest priority of the DNA Analysis Unit.


The 2016 validation of a 27-locus, six-dye, multiplex that includes all markers in the expanded CODIS core loci was significant as it increased overlap with short tandem repeat database standards throughout the world. This multiplex kit was implemented in the DNA Analysis Unit in January 2017.



DNA Analysis : Sexual Assault Response Team


The Wisconsin Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Response Team (AG SART) work continued to progress throughout 2016. In 2015, a new sexual assault kit named the “Medical-Forensic Evidence Collection Kit” was created through the multidisciplinary team effort that is at the core of the AG SART group.  At the end of 2016, over 3,000 of the newly designed kits have been distributed to Wisconsin health care agencies at no charge to acquire consistent use of this kit.  Deputy Director Nicole Roehm as well as DNA Supervisors Dan Campbell and Eva M. L. King, through the coordination of DOJ’s Training and Standards group, have assisted with several sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) training events in 2016 on the new kit revision and its use, which further breeds consistency and quality in the collection of sexual assault evidence in our State. At the end of 2015, authorization from Division of Law Enforcement Services Administrator, allowed Wisconsin health care organizations to submit sexual assault kits from adult patients choosing not to report or involve law enforcement at the time of the examination/evidence collection.  The Madison Crime Laboratory receipts these non-reporting patient kits submitted and stores them for up to 10 years allowing the patient to change their mind and choose to report.  Over 100 non-reporting patient sexual assault kits from health care providers were submitted for secure storage in 2016.


Additionally, WI DOJ’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) efforts aided by the two grants awarded to Wisconsin have continued forward.  Specifically the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York (DANY) grant, with funding issued predominantly for DNA analysis assistance, has impacted our Crime Laboratory Bureau.  In 2016, the request for bid to outsource many of the stored sexual assault kits was awarded to BODE/LabCorp Laboratory in Virginia.  With assistance provided by DOJ, most of the 2016 SAKI efforts were associated with completing and certifying law enforcement agencies’ inventory of stored kits.  Once an agency’s inventory is certified, requests for shipment of their stored kits are made by the Crime Lab Bureau.  By the end of 2016, over ten Wisconsin counties were certified and contacted to begin submitting their inventory which totaled over 600 sexual assault kits.  This certification/submission work by DOJ will continue into 2017, with the first shipment of kits for outsourcing to BODE, for DNA analysis, being accomplished in January 2017.  Some of the SAKI-related kits have been analyzed in-house by the Crime Laboratory Bureau.


For more information about the WI DOJ's SAKI efforts please view this website.