Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Rohaizah James, Promega Corp
Abstract: Genetic markers called Short Tandem Repeats (STR) is now routinely used in forensic DNA testing to identify the source of crime scene evidence. A DNA profile containing multiple STR's provides an extremely high probability of identity, leaving little doubt that a match between crime scene evidence and a suspect is not random. Because a large fraction of crimes are committed by repeat offenders, an offender database aids in generating leads and solving crimes. The national DNA database, established in 1998 after Congress passed the DNA Identification Act, now contains over 10 million offender DNA profiles. The ability to search this database has aided over 200,000 investigations. This database also includes over 1.5 million arrestee profiles. Arrestee DNA testing, currently allowed in 29 states, has been controversial. Does the potential benefit of improving public safety outweigh an arrestee's privacy interests? What about familial searching, where a database is searched to identify not the criminal but his/her biological relative? This search method was used successfully in solving the California Grim Sleeper case, where the presence of the criminalaEuroTMs son in the DNA database led investigators to the father. This presentation will include a discussion on the science behind STR analysis and the practical questions it brings in forensic use.