Department of Forensic Biology
The OCME Department of Forensic Biology operates the largest public DNA crime laboratory in the world. Over 160 forensic DNA scientists work here.
Our Forensic Biology Laboratory performs serology and DNA testing on physical evidence from criminal cases within the City of New York. It tests approximately 40,000 items of evidence each year from nearly every category of crime including homicide, sexual assault, felony assault, robbery, burglary, hate crimes, and weapons possession.
The lab also performs testing associated with missing persons, unidentified remains, and the ongoing effort to identify World Trade Center victims.
The Forensic Biology Laboratory is recognized for its leadership in new and emerging technologies.
The OCME Department of Forensic Biology was established in 1990, having evolved from the serology laboratory in existence since the 1930s.
Important milestones in the history of the Department include:
- 1990 The Serology Laboratory becomes the Department of Forensic Biology.
- 1995 The Department is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB).
- 1996 The Department becomes the first laboratory in the nation to begin using STRs in forensic casework.
- 1998 The Department becomes the first laboratory in the nation to begin using Y-chromosome STRs in forensic casework.
- 2001 The Department provides DNA testing for World Trade Center and American Airlines flight 587 victim identification efforts.
- 2003 The Rape Kit Backlog Project, which started in 2001, is completed. Since this time, the City has never had another rape kit backlog.
- 2004 The Missing Persons/Unidentified Human Remains group is formed.
- 2007 The Charles S. Hirsch Center for Forensic Sciences opens on February 12.
- 2011 The Department achieves accreditation under the ISO17025 based ASCLD/LAB International program.
- 2014 The Department collaborates with other OCME units and partner agencies to host the first-ever New York City Missing Persons Day, which has resulted in five identifications to date and provided information for hundreds of family members of the missing.
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