Forensic DNA application: an interdisciplinary perspective

The DNA analysis today undoubtedly has an irreplaceable role in all forensic sciences. The discovery and application of STR molecular markers has signifi cantly improved forensic DNA analysis. The tetranucleotide STR markers are best studied and most commonly included into the analysis of individual and population diversity. The use of SNP molecular markers is one of the more recent approaches in population-genetic studies, medical diagnosis and identity testing. The largest part of the SNPs is an integral part of noncoding region of the genome, for this reason being considered as selectively neutral. However, there is a certain number of SNPs located within the coding region of the genome (cSNP) and they can infl uence the development of various multifactorial diseases. As opposed to autosomal markers, which vary through generations, Y-linked and mitochondrial markers pass through generational barriers unchanged (in the absence of mutations). For this reason, they are often used in population, human and forensic genetics for tracing parental lineage. Y parental chromosome plays an important role in the cases of rape as well as in identifi cation of migration of certain nations. With the development of molecular methods over the past years, the role of DNA analysis in animal and plant forensics has become very notable. The number of cases in which traces of animal and plant origin are used as evidence has increased signifi cantly. DNA technology also plays an important role in identifi cation of microorganisms that could be used for bioterrorist attacks. The application of identity determination by DNA analysis is especially important for revealing the victims of human traffi cking, sexual and labor abuse, as well as in combating illegal immigration and illegal adoptions. The latest trend in the fi eld of forensic genetics is DNA phenotyping. The use of SNP markers in the process of individual genotyping serves to anticipate certain phenotypic characteristics such as the color of the skin, eyes, hair and alike, in order to establish the identity of the remains or individualization of a person who has left a biological trace.

Keywords: biometric identifi cation; biological markers; forensic medicine; bioterrorism; emigration and immigration
Category: Review
Volume: Vol. 57, No 4, october - december 2013
Authors: Petar Projić, Gordan Lauc, Dragan Primorac
Reference work: Paediatr Croat. 2013;57:301-311

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