The Dallas County District Attorney's Office has suspended DNA testing in some criminal cases due to faulty testing kits. The move could delay dozens of cases from going to trial for several months.
"The Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences brought to the district attorney's office some issues that they had with DNA test kits. As a result some criminal cases may be delayed until the samples can be retested," the DA's office said in a statement to NBC 5.
The Dallas County Crime Investigation Lab started using new test kits manufactured by a German company called QIAGEN in March.
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Analysts discovered that in addition to human DNA the tests were detecting non-human genetic material, like microbial DNA from fungus or bacteria. Those results rendered some of the tests unreadable and unreliable.
The district attorney's office was confident Thursday that the issue would not negatively impact prosecutions as new kits are brought in to retest the samples.
"No false convictions will occur and no prejudice will occur to any defendants other than trials being delayed for two to three months," the DA's office statement said.
Approximately 40 defendants in 26 cases in Dallas County could see their cases delayed until September.
Due to the delay some of those defendants could be released from jail before their case goes to trial.
"The state may not be ready in certain cases, and as a result some defendants may be given personal recognizance bonds in accordance with the law," the DA's office statement said.
The new tests are expected to be available by early September.
In a statement to NBC 5, QIAGEN public relations director Thomas Theuringer said Friday:
"QIAGEN and the testing lab at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas have been working together to implement its human identity DNA testing products. QIAGEN is aware of the observations made by the testing lab from using its products and takes the performance requirements of its customers very seriously. QIAGEN is actively collaborating with the testing lab to resolve the matter by providing all necessary support and new replacement product, as soon as possible, that meets the standards of criminal testing laboratories in Texas."