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Forensic Genetics

PhD Student: Ms. Tasneem Salie

MSc Student: Amy Roberts

The Division of Human Genetics offered a 2-week Bsc (Med) Hons lecture module in Forensic Genetics for the first time in 2011. This module covered topics such as DNA markers, interpreting DNA profiles, Mitochondrial DNA analysis, Y chromosome markers, the legal system in South Africa, provision of expert evidence in court, and Forensic Report writing, amongst others. Two Honours research projects with a forensic genetic basis were also offered for the first time in 2011. The projects involved a) the identification of body fluids, specifically blood, from messenger RNA in dried stains, and b) genetic polymorphisms related to alcohol metabolism in different population groups. Due to the success of these initial projects it is likely that more Human Genetic projects of a forensic nature will be offered in the future.

There is currently a Masters project underway investigating the genetics of suicide entitled ” Genotyping of specific variants in ABCB1 and SLC6A4, within the Western Cape, South Africa, in a cohort with suicide ideation, and suicide victims”

There is also a forensic genetic PhD project being undertaken, involving analysis of ancient DNA from bones. The title of the PhD project is “A Genetic Investigation of Archaeological remains of the Southern and Western Cape provinces of Southern Africa”.