University of Technology Sydney

65320 Forensic Genetics

6cp; 5hpw (2hr lecture, 3hr computer lab/workshop)
Requisite(s): 91161 Cell Biology and Genetics


DNA profiling is arguably the 'gold standard' of forensic evidence. It has achieved this status because the process is reproducible, reliable and robust as a means of quantifying its strength as evidence in the form of a likelihood ratio (LR). This is largely due to sound underlying principles of population genetics which inform concepts such as Hardy Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) and linkage equilibrium (LE), as well as departures from these. It is also reliant on understanding population stratification and concepts of genetic distance. As well as formulating forensic evidence, these principles can also be applied to extract investigative value from DNA in the form of biogeographical ancestry (BGA).

Recent advances in genomics have made available a wealth of genetic information. Students gain an understanding of the methods and techniques used to generate these data as well as learn how to use them to make informed decisions about human identity and differentiation. There is a focus on the understanding, implementation and interpretation of computational tools for population genetic analysis. Bioinformatics is used to analyse and graphically represent genetic data with a view to using them in a forensic setting and communicating genetic concepts to scientific and non-scientific audiences.

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