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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 228750 Find in a Library
Title: Considerations in Adopting Large Scale Automation for the Forensic Laboratory
Journal: Forensic Magazine  Volume:6  Issue:5  Dated:October-November 2009  Pages:25-29
Author(s): Christopher Cowan; Melissa Schwandt
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 5
Type: Report (Technical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article provides guidance in the form of six suggestions for a forensic laboratory's successful adoption of automated liquid handlers as part of a laboratory's sample processing workflow.
Abstract: In order to alleviate bottlenecks throughout the entire forensic sample processing workflow, it is necessary to adopt automated liquid handling instrumentation that can perform not only genomic DNA extraction, but also the more challenging task of low-volume pipetting. Implementation and use of automated liquid handlers enables the automation of all steps in the forensic laboratory sample processing workflow; however, this presents a number of challenges that labs must understand and address. The suggestions offered in this article address these challenges. First, identify the laboratory's goals in adopting automation. This article presents the questions that should be answered when a laboratory considers the purchase of an automated liquid handler. A second suggestion is to ask for help from peers in laboratories that have experience with automation on different scales. Reagent and instrument companies can also provide information, experience, and support in dealing with questions about automation. A third suggestion is to develop automation experts within your own lab. There are generally one or two people on the lab staff who have an aptitude for or interest in learning how to use and maintain the automated liquid handler. The laboratory should budget for selected staff to attend one or more of the training courses offered by instrument companies. A fourth suggestion is to provide the time and effort required to develop and validate the automated method. Other suggestions are to take the steps necessary to mitigate analysts' fear of the robotic system, as well as be realistic about the cost, timelines, commitment, and integration of a robot into the lab.
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Automation; Crime laboratories; Crime laboratory equipment; Crime laboratory management; DNA fingerprinting; Forensic sciences
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