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Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) Processing

The sheer volume of sexual assault evidentiary samples submitted to forensic laboratories has compelled many laboratories to seek better solutions for processing these challenging samples. Promega offers several products that take you through each step in the sexual assault evidence kit (SAEK) workflow, from sample extraction to analysis. 

The Casework Direct System, when used with the PowerQuant® System, offers an ideal workflow to screen SAEK samples. The Casework Direct System rapidly generates lysates from casework samples that may be amplified with the PowerQuant® System to screen SAEKs for male DNA and normalize human DNA templates for STR amplification with one of the PowerPlex® Systems.

View the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) Legislation Webinar Series On Demand

Forensic laboratories are often overwhelmed by the volume of sexual assault evidence kits (SAEKs) they receive for processing. This series of webinars, presented jointly by Promega and Bode Technology, addresses legislative issues and workflow efficiencies for SAEK processing in the US.

View Series

SAEK Processing Workflow

Choosing a Workflow

Do you go the serology route or the Direct-to-DNA route? While serology may be familiar to many forensic laboratories, a “direct-to-DNA” approach using Y screening can save time and money.

Serology Direct-to-DNA/Y Screening
Low throughput and labor-intensive High throughput; can be automated for even more efficient processing
All samples must be processed, regardless of whether they contain male DNA Y screening eliminates samples that do not contain male DNA
Limited sensitivity to detect male DNA High sensitivity, even with challenging samples, and improved effectiveness than what is seen with biological fluid screening for detecting male DNA from vaginal swabs, external genitalia and dried secretions
Higher cost per sample Eliminating unsuitable samples and direct STR amplification of qualifying samples lower SAEK processing costs
Poor results seen when samples are aged or improperly stored due to breakdown of enzymes used in serological screening A better predictor of the success of obtaining a DNA profile where enzymes that detect biological fluids may have degraded

Solutions for a Complete Workflow

Promega offers instruments, reagents and kits to support every step of the SAEK processing workflow. 

Preprocessing and Differential Extraction DNA Isolation DNA Quantification Amplification/STR Analysis
preprocessing-differential-extraction dna-isolation dna-quantification
Casework Direct System
Rapidly process SAEK and trace DNA samples
Maxwell® FSC DNA IQ™ Casework Kit
Automated benchtop DNA extraction from casework samples
PowerQuant® System
Quantify autosomal and Y-chromosomal DNA and assess sample integrity
PowerPlex® 35GY System
Amplify and detect 35 loci, including 11 Y-STR loci and the 20 CODIS core loci
Differex™ System
Separate sperm and epithelial cells
Maxprep® Liquid Handler
Complete robotic system for nucleic acid purification
Plexor® HY System
Simultaneously quantify autosomal and Y-chromosome DNA
Spectrum CE System
A high-throughput capillary electrophoresis system for forensic and paternity labs

Why Use a Y-STR System for Your SAEK Workflow?

Y-STR analysis can provide clues in situations where autosomal STR analysis has not yielded sufficient information to help the investigation. For example, excess amounts of female DNA can often make it difficult to detect male DNA when performing autosomal STR analysis. While the autosomal loci included in the PowerPlex® 35GY System help determine the total number of contributors in mixed samples, the 11 Y-STRs help estimate the total male contributors and can detect male DNA from cases where the male perpetrator did not ejaculate, had undergone a vasectomy or where penile penetration did not occur.

Learn more about the PowerPlex® 35GY System.

Amplify 11 Y-STR loci in a single reaction with the PowerPlex® 35GY System.


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