Large-Scale System to Provide Long-Term Storage for One Million Crime Scene DNA Samples
HOPKINTON, Mass., (Feb. 27, 2012)
-- Hamilton Storage Technologies announced today the sale of a new -80°C BiOS third-generation biobanking system to the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) for long-term storage of DNA extracts from crime scenes. The NFI performs the vast majority of all forensic DNA casework in the country, including providing second opinions and analyses for cold cases. Netherlands government regulations require that samples from severe crimes be stored for a maximum of 80 years.
In addition to the BiOS, NFI has already received and installed a Hamilton +4°C Sample Access Manager (SAM) system connected with a -80°C SAM system by a Rack Runner robot. This will serve as a temporary solution while the BiOS is being constructed. The new BiOS will replace the -80°C SAM system and be used as a long-term biorepository, while the +4°C SAM systems will be used for active case samples, providing access without freeze/thaw cycles. Hamilton systems provide full sample access and management, along with audit trail, chain-of-custody and temperature log documentation, all of which are particularly important in forensic applications. The Institute has also acquired three Hamilton MICROLAB® STAR Automated Liquid Handling Workstations, including the new AutoLys STAR system for sample lysis and DNA Extraction. NFI is currently validating DNA extraction protocols on the STAR platform.
One million extracted crime scene samples will ultimately be stored in two-dimensional bar-coded tubes in the BiOS system at NFI. The 2-D bar codes, permanently etched on the tubes, ensure accurate sample tracking and support the overall security of the system. “We plan to add about 120,000 tubes per year and we expect the new BiOS to meet our capacity needs for at least seven years,” said Thomas F. Ondracek, LL M, team leader of the QA team at the human biological traces department at NFI.
The Hamilton Storage Technologies BiOS was chosen after an objective tender process. “The design of the BiOS, with internal chest freezers and multiple layers of redundant cooling, along with tube picking in the low-temperature environment, meets our demands for sample quality and integrity over the years,” said Ondracek. “The BiOS also helps us meet our regulatory compliance guidelines, including support for ISO/IEC 17025 and 21 CFR Part 11.”
BiOS is Hamilton Storage Technologies’ third-generation automated system, designed for ultra-low temperature storage of sensitive biological samples. This flexible, scalable system ensures the integrity of 250,000 to more than 10 million sample tubes at temperatures down to -85˚ C. All internal workflows, including sample picking, are optimized to keep samples at ultra-low temperatures at all times.