The field of forensics is constantly evolving. While short tandem repeats (STRs) are currently used in all forensic DNA laboratories for human identification, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have emerged as new markers of interest. These new markers present several benefits, including the ability to analyze smaller DNA fragments, the ancestral and phenotypic information they may carry, and the ability to distinguish STRs of the same size. New technologies for genotyping SNPs have been developed in the recent years, and they will continue to advance for many years to come.

This webinar series will dive into using SNPs for forensic applications and discuss recent advances in the field. Topics will include using SNPs for human identification, ancestry prediction, pigmentation, and craniofacial morphology, microhaplotypes for forensic applications, and methylation for age prediction.

Collaborators and Funding

Forensic DNA: The Beginning of the SNP Era is brought to you by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence in collaboration with George Washington University (GW), under key personnel Dr. Daniele Podini.

Dr. Podini is a forensic DNA expert whose current research focuses on microhaplotypes (clusters of SNPs) and on the use of next generation technologies for human identification purposes. His forensic experience ranges from processing crime scenes for biological specimens to processing evidence in the laboratory, and from DNA profiling to testifying in court as an expert witness. Dr. Podini has been on the faculty of the Department of Forensic Sciences at GW since 2004. He is also a member the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the International Society of Forensic Genetics, and serves as a member of the Subcommittee on DNA Analysis 1 of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) to aid efforts in strengthening forensic sciences in the United States.

Summary Report

This report summarizes the content of the 2017-2018 5-part webinar series, as well as the reception of the series by the forensics community. The project team made surveys available to all participants immediately following each webinar to obtain data metrics to assess the quality and impact of discussion content, and to gain information on the structure of the web audience.


The Evolution of SNPs as a Forensic Marker
Presenters: Kenneth Kidd, Chris Phillips & Tom Parsons

Predict Human Appearance From DNA Focusing on Pigmentation
Presenters: Manfred Kayser & Susan Walsh

DNA Methylation-Based Age Prediction & Body Fluid ID
Presenters: Dr. Athina Vidaki & Dr. Hwan Young Lee

Investigative DNA Testing Implementation
Presenters: Dr. Katherine Gettings, Maretta Chace & Dr. Runa Daniel

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar series has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar series are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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