More proof that forensic DNA tests didn’t use to cost an arm and a leg, or take forever.

MSP – 10-Year DNA Backlog Eliminated In 12 Months; 70,000 Samples Added to States DNA Database

“August 31, 2004

Lansing – The Michigan State Police MSP successfully completed a National Institute of Justice NIJ pilot program resulting in the elimination of a projected 10-year DNA backlog of convicted felon samples. The pilot program, which began in June 2003, provided $3,385,800 in federal funding to the MSP Forensic Science Division to outsource 80,640 DNA samples for testing at a private laboratory, Bode Technology Group of Springfield, Va.”

via MSP – 10-Year DNA Backlog Eliminated In 12 Months; 70,000 Samples Added to States DNA Database.

I had reason to search for Michigan cold homicide cases last night. I didn’t find them.

Instead, I tripped over additional documentation that DNA tests used to be dirt cheap and done rapidly. The $42 a pop in 2003 in the above-linked article – with tens of thousands of samples identified in a year – isn’t what mega-merged LabCorp now offers.

LabCorp will – at a cost of many thousands, complete a couple dozen tests within a few months.

The additional info on pre-mega-merger forensic DNA test costs is priceless, and so is the other forensic info I tripped over in this lost-cause cold case search; another wacko dog handler that claims an ability to follow scents over open roads … when the suspect is traveling in a vehicle.

Search terms seldom take me directly where I want to go. If the devil is in the details of the continual detours, it’s clear he isn’t after me.

Update – 5/18/12 – LabCorp has yet to complete Denny Ross’s wildly expensive, rudimentary Mito DNA tests, according to ABC in Akron, OH ($45,000 to test 20 samples). But maybe LabCorp gave the prosecutors a heads-up that the DNA didn’t implicate Ross … a witness taking well over a decade to come forward seems unlikely, given that incentives for stellar ethics are non-existant – LabCorp’s wrongdoing is rewarded by the approval of acquisitions, and prosecutor’s abuse of absolute immunity for deliberate misconduct is a-okay with the DoJ.

About Susan Chandler

Now-disabled interior/exterior designer dragged into battling conviction corruption from its periphery in a third personal battle with civil public corruption.
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2 Responses to More proof that forensic DNA tests didn’t use to cost an arm and a leg, or take forever.

  1. Mike says:

    Interesting that you stumbled across this old article. I am the director at Bode and want to assure you that the price for this type of testing remains affordable and clarify some of the pricing differences. The backlog then was for databasing samples of convicted offenders – these are reference samples taken from known individuals. This type of testing is still done routinely to build the CODIS database and private labs currently offer this below $40/sample. There are also backlogs for the processing of forensic evidence. This type of testing is more expensive as it typically involves more challenging evidence collected from crime scenes. But the cost is typically in the hundreds/sample because the level of effort is considerably higher. The cost that has been quoted recently – ~$1500 for DNA analysis of a sexual assault evidence collection kit – is a fair accounting of the price. It is important to know that a kit includes multiple items of evidence (vaginal/rectal/oral swabs, body swabs, underwear are standard and often there are other items submitted in a kit as well) whereas a databasing sample is a single sample.
    And Bode is still in business today supporting law enforcement.
    Kind regards,


    • Thank you for your comments, Mike. I assume Bode lowered its pricing because automation lowered its costs, and increased demand guaranteed that shareholders would still realize a healthy return on their investment. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      The price difference between testing inmates’ DNA and testing crime scene evidence for DNA is only understandable to a point, which I’ll better understand when I know if your $1500 rape kit tests for STR, YSTR or Mito. Please let me know which.


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