As one of the primary building blocks of a living being, DNA can reveal much about an individual. Because of this, the services of a forensic DNA analyst are important to crime scene investigation. The data derived from the analyses of these experts can help authorities identify the victim and the culprit, as well as any pertinent biological information regarding the two. DNA acts as a person’s own biological signature, and forensic DNA analysts are professionals who can decipher those signatures.
Any biological sample can produce DNA evidence. Forensic DNA analysts comb the crime scene for hair, blood, and other bodily fluids. Then, they bring these samples back to the crime lab and isolate the DNA from each sample. They can match the DNA against samples in a DNA database. cross-reference these with existing samples to determine the identities of their prospective owners. The results of the DNA analysis can be used in a court of law.
A major educational requirement for forensic DNA analysts is a Bachelor’s degree in forensic science, chemistry, or biology, with sufficient course work on genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and statistics. A Master’s degree or a Doctorate in genetics will also help to further one’s career as a forensic DNA analyst.
Extensive experience in laboratory work is a definite plus for anyone looking to build a career in DNA analysis. In addition, certification with any accredited association is a plus.
Forensic DNA analysts make an average of $32,000 to $65,000 yearly, although this number is highly dependent on level of expertise, work experience, tenure, and locality. Working in the private sector may yield even higher figures.
With DNA analysis technology becoming more and more sophisticated, the demand for forensic DNA analysts is steadily increasing. The outlook for a career in DNA analysis is excellent.