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Recommendation 3.1: Laboratories should adhere to high quality standards (such as those defined by TWGDAM and the DNA Advisory Board) and make every effort to be accredited for DNA work (by such organizations as ASCLD-LAB).

Proficiency Tests

Regular proficiency tests, both within a laboratory and by external examiners, are one of the best ways of ensuring high standards. To the extent that it is feasible, some of the tests should be blind.

Recommendation 3.2: Laboratories should participate regularly in proficiency tests, and the results should be available for court proceedings.

Duplicate Tests

We recognize that no amount of care and proficiency-testing can eliminate the possibility of error. However, duplicate tests, performed as independently as possible, can reduce the risk of error enormously. The best protection that an innocent suspect has against an error that could lead to a false conviction is the opportunity for an independent retest.

Recommendation 3.3: Whenever feasible, forensic samples should be divided into two or more parts at the earliest practicable stage and the unused parts retained to permit additional tests. The used and saved portions should be stored and handled separately. Any additional tests should be performed independently of the first by personnel not involved in the first test and preferably in a different laboratory.

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