University of Technology Sydney

65318 Forensic Genotyping Technologies

6cp; lectures: 2hpw x 12wks (online), laboratory/practical: 3hpw x 4wks (on campus), tutorials/workshops: 3hpw x 8wks (on campus)
Requisite(s): 91132 Molecular Biology 1 AND 91137 DNA Profiling


The forensic application of DNA analysis was first introduced in the mid-1980s and began with restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis that required micrograms of DNA template. Soon after, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of short tandem repeats (STRs) proved capable of producing a full DNA profile from just a few cells. During the last thirty years, forensic DNA analysis has helped to solve a tremendous number of forensic cases worldwide, providing crucial evidence with unprecedented levels of sensitivity, specificity and statistical significance.

In recent years, rapid technological advancements in DNA sequencing methods have enabled additional progress in the area of forensic DNA genotyping, adding even more powerful tools to the forensic arsenal for investigation and solving of crimes. This research-inspired subject focuses on various technical aspects of emerging forensic DNA technologies and their implementation into operational casework. Specifically, the following topics are covered: novel genetic and epigenetic markers of forensic relevance, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), microhaplotypes and methylated DNA; advanced genotyping technologies, such as massively parallel sequencing and genetics of complex traits; analysis and interpretation of complex bioinformatic data; and ethical and legal considerations related to implementation of the novel forensic tools. These topics are addressed in an interdisciplinary context and in relation to the relevance and the probative value of the generated results.

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