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Genomic forensics

Crime solving with molecular tools

In developed countries, over 50% of crimes remain unresolved. While this may be due to a complete lack of evidence in many cases the evidence cannot be interpreted in the absence of better technologies. Advancements in DNA methods and technology have led to a rise in research into DNA intelligence tools such as phenotypic prediction (i.e. eye and hair color) and inference of biogeographical ancestry that can be applied to gain further insights. 

Not all the tools are based on human DNA, in fact most of them are based on metagenomes. Indeed, In 2007, the National Research Council (US) Committee on Metagenomics has recognized the importance of metagenomics in the field of forensic science ‘to precisely identify and characterize microbes that have played a role in war, acts of terrorism, and crime events, thus contributing to discovering the source of the microbes and the party responsible for their use’17

We ask questions concerning the places visited by individuals, the people and objects with whom they interacted, their origins, and their look. We collaborate with law enforcements around the world and the forensic community to develop tools and methods that allow harnessing metagenomes to aid in forensic investigations.

Papers

  1. Danko DC, Bezdan D, Afshinnekoo E, Ahsanuddin S, Alicea J, Bhattacharya C, Bhattacharyya M, Blekhman R, Butler DJ, Castro-Nallar E et al: Global Genetic Cartography of Urban Metagenomes and Anti-Microbial Resistance. bioRxiv 2019:724526.
  2. Elhaik E, Tatarinova T, Chebotarev D, Piras IS, Maria Calò C, De Montis A, Atzori M, Marini M, Tofanelli S, Francalacci P et al: Geographic population structure analysis of worldwide human populations infers their biogeographical origins. Nat Commun 2014, 5:1-12.
  3. Home DNA: GPS Origins® Ancestry Test. In. 2016
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