In 2008 NYSCASA initiated a statewide project to improve the success rate of prosecutions in New York State through trainings to improve the recognition, collection, preservation, and use of DNA-bearing evidence in the resolution of crimes in New York.

Funded by a grant from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), this project ensures that the most up-to-date, accurate and highest quality DNA information is presented to service providers from law enforcement, nursing, emergency medical services, laboratories, courts, rape crisis programs and other providers that are on the front line responding to crimes and caring for victims.

On this page and from the links at the left you will have access to a wide range of information on the subject of DNA, especially as it relates to Sexual Violence.

DNA Defined

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria.

The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases, and more than 99 percent of those bases are the same in all people. The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences.

An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.

Definition from the Genetic Home Reference Handbook of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Go to http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/basics/dna for more details.