A forensic DNA analyst is a scientist that plays an important role in criminal investigations. The DNA analyst can generally divide his or her work into two processes. First, he or she conducts chemical and genetic analysis on samples provided by police and crime scene investigators. After completing this initial phase, the analyst uses the findings to create a genetic profile of the person or persons who fit within the DNA findings. These findings are usually enumerated in a report for investigators, and the analyst may be required to testify about their contents at a trial. Throughout all processes, the forensic DNA analyst works to ensure that all custody procedures are documented and carefully followed, in order to prevent contamination.
When collecting useful DNA evidence from a sample, the forensic analyst will typically use equipment, such as spectrometers and centrifuges, to separate and observe DNA material. The analyst will normally work with small parts of the sample and document his or her processes. The analyst will work toward acquiring enough useful genetic markers from this analysis to form a demographic profile.
Candidates need to have a strong educational background in various scientific fields. Typically, a forensic DNA analyst will have a degree in chemistry, biology, genetics, or a combination of these. Some colleges now even offer forensic science degrees that cover this career field specifically. Many forensic DNA analysts work as interns in this career track during school and serve as assistants in genetic labs to gain the necessary practical experience sought by employers. A forensic DNA analyst typically works in a laboratory environment during regular daytime hours.