An Update from the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science

Robyn Ragsdale, Chair of OSAC’s Biology Scientific Area Committee and Beth Ordeman, Chair of OSAC’s Human Forensic Biology Subcommittee

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The Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science’s Human Forensic Biology Subcommittee has not let a pandemic slow them down! The subcommittee currently has 17 documents at the AAFS American Standards Board (ASB), several of which may be published shortly. Additionally, they have posted OSAC 2020-N-0007, Best Practice Recommendations for the Management and Use of Quality Assurance DNA Elimination Databases in Forensic DNA Analysis as a Proposed Standard on the OSAC Registry (added April 6, 2021). This document has also been sent to ASB for further development and publication. The most recent addition to the Registry, ANSI/ASB Standard 018, Standard for the Validation of Probabilistic Genotyping Systems, First Edition 2020, was added May 4, 2021 and joins three other Registry approved human DNA standards. Furthermore, six ASB published standards are being considered for the Registry. These six standards are all related to training and validation.

Several documents, including Standard for Interpreting and Reporting DNA Test Results Associated with Failed Controls or Contamination Events and Standard for Setting Analytical and Stochastic Thresholds for Application to Forensic Casework Using Electrophoretic Systems, have been written and are currently going through OSAC’s review process. Fourteen other documents are also under development. Several of them, including standards for training and validation, massively parallel sequencing, and testimony propositions, are close to completion.

Please visit the OSAC website to see the standards that are open for comment. OSAC’s Biology Scientific Area Committee (SAC) and Human Forensic Biology Subcommittee need your expertise and input to help make these standards as strong as possible! We also encourage you to review and use the standards that are listed on the Registry. If you have any questions about any of these standards, please contact the OSAC Biology SAC Chair ( or Human Forensic Biology Subcommittee Chair (

Be sure to check out the OSAC Standards Bulletin for a monthly update on the DNA standards moving through the development and OSAC Registry processes!