Posts Tagged ‘ISHI25’

 

Highlights from ISHI25, Phoenix, Arizona and SFO, USA

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Vanessa Lynch outside the Californian Dept. of Justice Forensci DNA Lab, follwoing a tour of the facility and a presentation

Vanessa Lynch outside the Californian Dept. of Justice Forensic DNA Lab, following a tour of the facility and a presentation.

It is hard to believe that almost three weeks have passed since I set off for the USA where I was so unbelievably lucky to have attended and presented at the 25th International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI25) in Phoenix, Arizona as well as visit and present at two significant Forensic Science Labs in San Francisco, CA.

Thank you to both Promega and Thermo Fisher for providing me with this amazing opportunity.

At any given time, I honestly felt that I needed to pinch myself to assure myself that I was not dreaming! Not only did I meet renowned international leaders in the field of forensic DNA technology, but I learned so much about how and why different administrations treat the collection and retention of DNA profiles in the way that they do.

In so doing, I was able to gain greater perspective on what we are doing in South Africa, where we are in keeping with the advances in this technology and where sadly, we are still falling way, way behind. I say this because whilst we are still fighting for our DNA Act to become operational, and have just moved from sequencing 10 to 16 loci for our forensic DNA profiles, the rest of the world with developed DNA Databases, are using 24 loci and talking about implementing New Generation Sequencing – with this platform, and I quote (!), “there is increased interpretation of degraded DNA because SNPs can theoretically be amplified with as little as 50-70 nucleotide long amplicons instead of the longer amplicons needed for STRs.” Click here to read more if this excites you!

Vanessa Lynch with John Butler, author of Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Typing: Interpretation. His 1st edition of Forensic DNA Typing, published in 2001, quickly established itself as the gold-standard reference for the field. Over the next ten years, the vast amount of new information uncovered has resulted in this new volume.

Vanessa Lynch with John Butler, author of Advanced Topics in Forensic DNA Typing: Interpretation. His 1st edition of Forensic DNA Typing, published in 2001, quickly established itself as the gold-standard reference for the field. Over the next ten years, the vast amount of new information uncovered has resulted in this new volume.

For an overview of the ISHI conference and what was presented, please read the below summary by Terri Sundquist, which also happens to briefly mention my presentation…

“I was one of almost 1,000 people who attended the 25th International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI25) in Phoenix, Arizona. This scientific meeting brings together DNA analysts from forensic and paternity labs, research scientists and others with an interest in DNA-based identification to learn about new technologies, policy and process changes, and current and future trends in DNA typing. There were so many great presentations and learning opportunities, how do I pick just a few of them to highlight?”

To read more, please click here http://www.promegaconnections.com/highlights-from-ishi25/

On a lighter note, two conversations which I found somewhat bemusing, were the ones I had with the Forensic Scientists from the Singapore and Chinese DNA Forensic Labs respectively.

The first conversation, with Singapore, revolved around the Oscar Pistoruis Trial: I was simply told that in Singapore, Mr Pistorius would now be dead – for the simple reason that it is illegal to own a firearm in Singapore, and if found to have one in your possession, it is life imprisonment. If anyone discharges a firearm, even accidentally, into the floor, it is the death sentence. It is no wonder that when I asked the scientist from Singapore how many criminal cases they deal with a year, the answer was : no more than 20 – per year!

New Generation Sequencing....

New Generation Sequencing....

The other conversation that left my jaw dropping, was with the Chinese scientist. This scientist correctly deduced that our number of arrestees and convicted offenders per annum is going to far outweigh our laboratory capacity, (especially at the start of the new DNA Act’s implementation) and accordingly suggested that we send samples to China to be processed because they can process as many as 800,000 samples per month — compare this to our anticipated capacity of approximately around 34,000 per month!

On that note, let’s not forget that our Minister of Police, Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko, has not yet declared our DNA Act to be operational nor has the appointment of the National Forensic Oversight and Ethics Board been appointed — two critical factors which inhibit the implementation of the new DNA Act. If we are not taking samples from arrestees and convicted offenders, that means we are not loading profiles onto our DNA Database. It is no longer a question of whether a DNA Database is a valuable criminal intelligence tool — it is a given and the use and successes of Forensic DNA Databases are undisputed worldwide.

Unlike in Singapore, in South Africa, we probably have  20 criminal cases happening per minute, which is why the urgent operational date of this Act needs to be declared.

We have the tools, now let’s get on with the business of using those tools! Please Mr Minister – this ought to be a top priority on your agenda.

Vanessa Lynch

ISHI25 – International Symposium on Human Identification 2014

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

The annual International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) conference, which is being held in Phoenix, Arizona in the US from Sept 29 – Oct 2, 2014, is an event that the DNA Project is very excited about as our founder Vanessa Lynch joins this year’s lineup of invited guest speakers.

The ISHI is an annual international conference for the DNA forensic community that provides the opportunity to learn, share and network amongst industry peers and experts.

Vanessa’s presentation on the 1st of October entitled “The DNA Project: The Crusade to Bring a National Forensic DNA Database to Fight Crime in South Africa” will include discussing the challenges in campaigning to pass the DNA Act in South Africa, some of its salient provisions and how she plans to continue to campaign for its effective implementation in conjunction with a national crime scene awareness programme driven by the DNA Project.

A map outlining the various delegates' hometowns.

Delegates from across the globe will be in attendance to listen to a wide range of topics presented by expert speakers across the 3-day conference. Topics such as:

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2

We hope to provide our followers with updates on all the happenings at the conference via Facebook and Twitter… so keep a watchful eye out!

We wish Vanessa a wonderful trip and the very best with her presentation =)

To learn more about the ISHI conference, please visit their website: http://ishinews.com/