The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board has accredited the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory's Forensic Unit in the Field of Forensic Science Testing. Accreditation became effective July 27.
For more than 10 years, UC Davis forensics personnel have used DNA identification in cases of animal cruelty, loss of a pet or theft of an animal. They also use DNA analysis if animal has been involved in an attack on another animal or a person, been involved in an accident or caused property damage.
Animal evidence at human crimes
Among the Forensic Unit's most well known services, however, is DNA typing of animal evidence at human crime scenes. Because the transfer of animal DNA from hair, saliva, blood, urine or feces can occur during a criminal act, the DNA of an animal can link a suspect with a crime scene or a victim. The laboratory's clients include federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that have obtained animal evidence during investigations of murder, assault and other crimes.
The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board offers voluntary accreditation to public and private crime laboratories in the United States and around the world. Accreditation assures that laboratories maintain the standards of a quality program that enhances the accuracy and acceptance of DNA test results.
The Forensic Unit is the first crime laboratory dedicated to animal testing to be accredited under new international standards and the first such laboratory accredited at a university.
The accreditation period is five years. Regular review includes site visits, proficiency testing and annual reports. Niels C. Pedersen, director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, credits the forensic team for the achievement. "This was not an easy task and our success in obtaining accreditation speaks to the esteem in which this particular unit is held among forensics people across the country and even abroad. The accreditation team was so impressed with [our documentation] that they want to use it as a guide for others."
Besides its extensive animal forensics service program, the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine provides animal parentage verification, genetic diagnostics and genetic disease research in domestic species, primates and wildlife.