Industry News: Verogen partners with Cellmark Forensic Services to launch UK’s first ISO17025 accredited forensic next-generation sequencing service

The collaboration aims to enable the resolution of challenging forensic investigations and complex relationship cases

25 Oct 2021

Verogen Inc., a dedicated developer of human identification products for sequencing and analysis of forensic genomic samples, has announced a partnership with Cellmark Forensic Services. Cellmark is a leading provider of forensic DNA services in the United Kingdom and is the first forensic laboratory to receive ISO17025 accreditation from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for next-generation sequencing (NGS), also known as massively parallel sequencing (MPS), for forensic DNA analysis. This accreditation enables Cellmark to offer NGS-based forensic services to its law enforcement partners, in keeping with the stringent quality standards required of forensic laboratories.

Verogen’s powerful new sequencing technology will supplement Cellmark’s existing specialist DNA capabilities. Verogen’s ForenSeq DNA Signature Prep Kit targets the core autosomal and Y-STR loci accepted by global databases, ensuring compatibility with existing DNA data. It also includes markers that provide advanced forensic intelligence such as hair color, eye color, and biogeographical estimations, all of which can be simultaneously interrogated using the versatile Verogen MiSeq FGx Sequencing System. The combination of sequence information and large number of forensically relevant markers will provide access to additional insight from low-quality, degraded and mixed samples, and enable the resolution of challenging forensic investigations and complex relationship cases.

“NGS is a huge leap forward in forensic DNA technology, and this accreditation demonstrates that it meets the rigorous standards necessary for introduction into forensic laboratories,” said Verogen CEO Brett Williams. “This partnership with Cellmark, through their implementation of the MiSeq FGx System, the ForesnSeq DNA Signature Prep Kit, and the Universal Analysis Software means Verogen’s tools will help bring closure to families looking for answers,” Williams added.

In 2019, Cellmark committed to becoming a UK center of excellence for sequencing-based forensic DNA profiling analysis.  This accreditation follows Cellmark’s extensive technology validation and consultation with the UK’s Forensic Science Regulator, the Forensic Information Database Service (FINDS), UKAS, the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group, representatives from multiple police forces, and a close partnership with Verogen, to bring the benefits of forensic NGS technology to criminal investigations.

“UKAS is the sole national accreditation body recognized by the British government for accrediting forensic science laboratories to international quality standards,” said David Hartshorne, Managing Director of Cellmark Forensic Services. “Cellmark has a long history of forensic innovation. This accreditation and our close partnership with Verogen, the world’s leading forensic MPS technology provider, will allow us to deliver far greater forensic information than has previously been possible.”

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