Within the research theme Forensic Biology (8), the forensic research on human biological traces is, in collaboration with the NFI, mainly shaped by the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) at the UvA. At SILS, NFI team leader and senior scientist Prof. dr. Titia Sijen was recently appointed as special professor, thereby succeeding em. Prof. dr. Ate Kloosterman. She is working alongside Dr. Pernette Verschure, coordinator within the CLHC.
The importance and impact of DNA analysis in forensic casework is extensive: it can provide human identification, high evidential values on whether a person is a contributor to a sample, investigative leads or assist in answering activity-level questions regarding what happened at the crime scene. Scientific innovations have had much impact on the currently used forensic methodologies and will continue to advance the applications in the field of human biology. This is assisted by the many developments in medical and genetic research. The forensic research of human biological traces is mainly implemented by the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) at the UvA in cooperation with the NFI. The research focuses on 1) DNA methylation with the aim to predict chronological age or lifestyle features; 2) genetic analysis to predict biogeographic origin, apply investigative genetic genealogy for which both autosomal, Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA analyses are applied; 3) RNA typing to assess which body fluids or organ are present in an evidentiary stain and associated donor and cell type; 4) the analysis and interpretation of very complex DNA samples for which molecular (eg massively parallel sequencing), statistical and software developments are used.