Choosing a mitochondrial DNA lab

Mitochondrial DNA testing should only be performed by laboratories with considerable experience in handling the unusually difficult samples that require this form of testing. The primary reason for this is that experienced labs can extract minimal amounts of mtDNA from difficult samples. In the event of a sample failure, an inexperienced lab would never know whether their extractions and PCRs were simply not sensitive enough, or whether the sample lacked non-degraded DNA altogether. In addition, contamination controls are heightened in a mitochondrial DNA laboratory, where working at the limits of sensitivity is standard operating procedure.

Ask your current mtDNA analysis provider what percentage of tested hairs and bones yield results in their hands. We currently obtain results in well over 90% of cases because we apply methods specifically designed to recover minimal and degraded mitochondrial DNA. Individual sample handling, which greatly increases the likelihood of DNA recovery, is necessary in a mtDNA laboratory.

A few Questions to Always Ask:

  1. Is Lab fully accredited for mtDNA analysis?
    (We have been since 2001)
  2. What is their success rate?
    (Ours is >95% for hair evidence, 90% overall)
  3. How much experience do they have?
    (Our Senior Scientist has over 19 years)
  4. Do they batch or process evidence individually?
    (We never batch process)
  5. Is expedited service available?
    (We will provide expedited services with the same precision and accuracy as provided with normal casework. However, restrictions do apply, please contact us for more information.)