Forensic Genetic Genealogy Walks into a Lab: Exploring Multiple Ways to Bring FGG Online for Casework

Wednesday September 20th, 2023 // 9:40 am - 10:00 am // Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center, Centennial Ballroom

In response to the growing demand for genetic genealogy in cold and violent crime cases, forensic practitioners worldwide are exploring the who, what, when, where, and how to implement forensic genetic genealogy alongside their existing workflows. Providing these services via public laboratories democratizes genetic genealogy in such a way that investigators are not reliant solely on outsourcing DNA work to private and/or commercial entities.  As consortiums, governing bodies, and legislation continue to be created, forensic laboratories are hard at work assessing the possibility of introducing a new workflow to address the need for genetic genealogical testing in-house.


In the past year, a growing number of laboratories have introduced PCR-based targeted amplification as the primary workflow for genetic genealogy, given its’ compatibility with publicly available genealogical databases such as GEDmatch.  However, additional methods exist for generating high-quality SNP data from low-level and degraded samples.


This presentation will provide a detailed overview of three approaches (PCR-based targeted amplification (ForenSeq Kintelligence), global screening array (Infinium Global Screening Array; (GSA)), and whole-genome sequencing (WGS; Illumina DNA Prep)) that have been developmentally validated and/or internally validated for casework operations at the UNT Center for Human Identification.  We will discuss the benefits and limitations for each approach (using available data to-date), including suitable sample type(s), chemistries, technological and bioinformatic requirements, and data interpretation capabilities and challenges.


Nicole Novroski

Assistant Professor, Forensic Science Program (Dept of Anthropology), University of Toronto

Dr. Nicole Novroski is currently an Assistant Professor in the Forensic Science Program (Dept of Anthropology) at the University of Toronto. Her research focus throughout her PhD, and now as a faculty member, is DNA mixture deconvolution. Nicole is also exploring a variety of new approaches and methods for forensic DNA typing. 

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