HC Deb 10 January 1990 vol 164 c624W
Sir John Wheeler

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the arrangements are for conducting DNA tests in criminal and civil cases which come before the courts; and what progress is being made in DNA testing techniques.

Mr. John Patten

ICI holds the worldwide rights to the DNA profiling technique using "multi locus" probes developed by Professor Jeffreys at Leicester university.

So far as DNA testing in criminal cases is concerned, Cellmark Diagnostics (a subsidiary of ICI) is contracted by the Home Office to deal with criminal paternity cases and cases involving the mass screening of large numbers of individuals. The Home Office forensic science service and the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory deal with all other criminal cases in England and Wales. A contract for the provision of DNA profiling services on this basis, and for the purchase of materials from ICI for use by the forensic science service, was agreed with ICI in 1988 and has been renewed for a further year. DNA technology is continually developing and more sensitive techniques are now being implemented within the Home Office forensic science service and the Metropolitan police laboratory.

Arrangements for carrying out civil paternity tests directed by a magistrates court are governed by regulations made under the Family Law Reform Act 1969. There is a panel of approved testers, which includes employees of Cellmark Diagnostics, any of whom cart carry out tests.