Just Microhaps Perhaps

In the second episode of our new R&D Season, Just Science host Dr. John Morgan speaks with human population geneticist Dr. Kenneth Kid, Professor Emeritus of Genetics and Senior Research Scientist with 44 years under his belt at Yale University.

With the advent of massively parallel sequencing, microhaplotypes have become a valuable new type of DNA marker for use in forensics. These markers have great potential through MPS not only because their statistical power can greatly exceed that of standard forensic markers typed by capillary electrophoresis, but because they are also excellent at quantifying biologic relationships without having to worry about the high mutation rates.

Listen to the discussion surrounding microhaplotypes, from the history of mapping the human genome and the evolution of population genetics, to the implications on forensics that new research in this field is providing.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

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Kenneth K. Kidd, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Genetics and Senior Research Scientist at Yale University, is a human population geneticist.  He has published over 550 scientific papers on a variety of subjects before and during his 44-year career at Yale.  His research has included medical genetics, gene mapping, database design, pharmacogenetics, and a variety of molecular methodologies. His long-standing interest in human population genetics has been combined with his laboratory’s expertise in molecular technology to examine human genome diversity at the DNA level. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s his expertise in both population and molecular genetics provided helpful expert testimony in getting DNA accepted in the courts.  After serving on the advisory panels for DNA identification of victims of the World Trade Center Attack and of Hurricane Katrina, he began research in his lab on panels of single nucleotide polymorphisms for various uses in forensics as an extension of his active research on human genetic diversity.  His lab is now very active in identifying SNPs useful in forensics and in using bioinformatics to make the data available and useful.  His group designed and maintains ALFRED, the large ALlele FREquency Database, and is actively enhancing FROGkb, the Forensic Reference/Resource on Genetics knowledge base.  Since 2013 he has also been recognized for his development of microhaplotypes as a new type of forensic marker suited for the coming transition from capillary electrophoresis to massively parallel sequencing as a common method in forensic practice.

 


Additional Resources:

Dr. Kidd’s 2018 NIJ R&D archive presentation recorded at AAFS

The redesigned Forensic Research/Reference on Genetics-knowledge base, FROG-kb

Forensic DNA: The Beginning of the SNP Era Webinar Series

 

Just Speak into the Microbe-phone

In the first episode of our new R&D Season, Just Science host Dr. John Morgan speaks with Dr. Bruce Budowle, the Executive Director of the Institute of Applied Genetics and Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.

Did you know that if you swab a 1cm square area of skin you’ll recover up to ten thousand bacterial cells? Microbiome profiling for forensic identification complements partial or inconclusive STR profiles to increase resolution for human source attribution. Performance assessment is underway and preliminary data indicate that the candidate panel can characterize human-based selected microbes even at initially low abundant body sites.

Listen along as John and Bruce explore research surrounding human microbiome flora and their implications on forensic science.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

Listen/Download at:
Listen on Google Play Music

 

You can also find us on Stitcher or Soundcloud 


Dr. Bruce Budowle received a Ph.D. in Genetics in 1979 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. From 1979-1982, Dr. Budowle was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Working under a National Cancer Institute fellowship, he carried out research predominately on genetic risk factors for such diseases as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, melanoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia.

In 1983, Dr. Budowle joined the research unit at the FBI Laboratory Division to carry out research, development, and validation of methods for forensic biological analyses. Dr. Budowle has contributed to the fundamental sciences as they apply to forensics in analytical development, population genetics, statistical interpretation of evidence, and in quality assurance. Dr. Budowle has worked on laying some of the foundations for the current statistical analyses in forensic biology and defining the parameters of relevant population groups. He has published approximately 600 articles, made more than 720 presentations (many of which were as an invited speaker at national and international meetings), and testified in well over 250 criminal cases in the areas of molecular biology, population genetics, statistics, quality assurance, and forensic biology. In addition, he has authored or co-authored books on molecular biology techniques, electrophoresis, protein detection, and microbial forensics. Dr. Budowle has been directly involved in developing quality assurance (QA) standards for the forensic DNA field. He has been a chair and member of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Methods, Chair of the DNA Commission of the International Society of Forensic Genetics, and a member of the DNA Advisory Board. He was one of the architects of the CODIS National DNA database, which maintains DNA profiles from convicted felons, from evidence in unsolved cases, and from missing persons.

Some of Dr. Budowle’s efforts over the last 15 years also are in counter terrorism, including identification of victims from mass disasters and in efforts involving microbial forensics and bioterrorism. Dr. Budowle was an advisor to New York State in the effort to identify the victims from the WTC attack. In the area of microbial forensics, Dr. Budowle has been the chair of the Scientific Working Group on Microbial Genetics and Forensics, whose mission was to set QA guidelines, develop criteria for biologic and user databases, set criteria for a National Repository, and develop forensic genomic applications. He also has served on the Steering Committee for the Colloquium on Microbial Forensics sponsored by American Society of Microbiology, an organizer of four Microbial Forensics Meetings held at The Banbury Center in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and on steering committees for NAS sponsored meetings.

In 2009 Dr. Budowle became Executive Director of the Institute of Applied Genetics and Professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Texas. He currently directs the Center for Human Identification. His research efforts focus on the areas of human forensic identification, microbial forensics, emerging infectious disease, molecular biology technologies, and pharmacogenetics.

 


Additional Resources:

DR. BUDOWLE’S 2018 NIJ R&D ARCHIVE RECORDED AT AAFS