DNA Test results...how long DOES it take?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Henry Gale, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    For years I've been under the impression that DNA tests took a couple of weeks. Often that seemed frustrating, the implication was that no matter how pressing the case, patience was needed. Something was going to have to grow in a Petri dish I guess.
    Today we're told that DNA proof is at hand to prove guilt in a California murder case, two days after the arrest.
    Any experts in the HTF to fill us in?
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2000
    Messages:
    4,611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jim, the detectives on that case probably started a DNA test days or weeks before the arrest, assuming the test takes a long while. An arrest is made when they believe they have a case against a suspect, but they need to gather additional evidence first, which could take weeks or months. They might have obtained a DNA sample of the suspect ahead of time, perhaps from hospital blood samples or directly from the suspect by consent.

    Which case are you referring to, BTW?
     
  3. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 1999
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Samantha Runnion murder. Suspect was only picked up yesterday. He was, however, involved in a molestation case last year so perhaps that investigation speeded up this process.
     
  4. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2000
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm not sure how long the tests themselves take, but I would imagine the several weeks it usually takes is more due to a back log than the length of the testing. The lab doesn't necessarily start the test as soon as the samples are received.
     
  5. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Used to take a long time, but with rapid cycle PCR and the automated digest systems now avaiable the times have come down an aweful lot (they don't compare exact sequences, they use special enzymes that chop up the DNA, then compare the sizes of the chunks, when done right no two people will produce the exact same pattern of chunks). I don't have knowledge of the latest equipment, but 3-6 hours wouldn't seem unreasonable to me.

    I'd have to agree with Charles. The time factor would have more to do with backlogs than test times (although even at 6 hours a test, that would definately cause backlogs). The other big factor would be how well equiped and staffed the lab was (so some would be quicker than others).
     

Share This Page