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 continues to move forward regardless of the pandemic! The subcommittee currently has 18 documents at the AAFS Academy Standards Board (ASB), two of which may be published shortly. Furthermore, we have posted as OSAC Proposed Standards, OSAC 2020-S-0004, Standard for Interpreting, Comparing and Reporting DNA Test Results Associated with Failed Controls and Contamination Events and OSAC 2020-N-0007, Best Practice Recommendations for the Management and Use of Quality Assurance DNA Elimination Databases in Forensic DNA Analysis. Both have been sent to ASB for further development and publication. Additionally, OSAC 2021-S-0021, Forensic Autosomal STR DNA Statistical analyses – General Protocol, Protocol Verification, and Case Record Requirements recently completed its open comment period and OSAC 2021-S-003, Standard for Setting Analytical and Stochastic Thresholds for Application to Forensic Casework Using Electrophoretic Systems should be posted for open comment in September.

In August, four new DNA standards were added to the Registry and include:

  • ANSI/ASB Standard 023, Standard for Training in Forensic DNA Isolation and Purification Methods, First Edition, 2020.
  • ANSI/ASB Standard 110, Standards for Training in Forensic Serological Methods, First Edition, 2020.
  • ANSI/ASB Standard 115, Standard for Training in Forensic Short Tandem Repeat Typing Methods using Amplification, DNA Separation, and Allele Detection, First Edition, 2020.
  • ANSI/ASB Standard 116, Standard for Training in Forensic DNA Quantification Methods, First Edition, 2020.

Three additional ASB published standards are under consideration for the Registry and three more standards, originally proposed by OSAC, are in the open comment period at ASB.

Several documents, including and 2021-S-0029, Standard for Familial Searching and 2021-S-0028, Standards for the Analytic Procedures and Report Writing of Forensic Serological Methods are currently being reviewed by a scientific and technical review panel (STRP) and open for public comment until September 6. 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. An assessment/ implementation document related to ANSI/ASB Standard 040, Standard for Forensic DNA Interpretation and Comparison Protocols, First Edition, 2019, is also in process.

The Biology Scientific Area Committee has also recently posted a list of informative literature for forensic biology covering both the human and wildlife disciplines. A list of current research needs will be posted shortly as well.

Please visit the OSAC website and view our monthly Standards Bulletin 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 (