What’s Next for Investigative Genetic Genealogy? Developing a Framework for Best Practice Use

Tuesday November 1st, 2022 // 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm // Woodrow Wilson Ballroom

Forensic/Investigative Genetic Genealogy (F/IGG) offers a powerful yet evolving capability for human identification, with its use by law enforcement having far-reaching implications for the criminal justice system internationally. While forensic genetics and law enforcement intelligence/investigations have developed their own best practice guidelines and, in some cases, standards and oversight, these still have to be developed for F/IGG. The combination of F/IGG with other forensic disciplines presents further challenges, perhaps requiring the development of a master set of ‘best practices’.

To determine how F/IGG should continue to evolve, it is necessary to contextualise its capabilities within forensic, law enforcement and genealogical frameworks. Existing interim guidelines provide the basis for further discussion and the development of policy and procedures for use of F/IGG, along with considerations for its technical, legal, ethical and scientific validation.

The evolving capabilities of FGG will be explored in relation to the status of other forensic disciplines with respect to quality assurance and operational use.  This will include the feasibility of adapting proficiency testing programs to the new field of F/IGG similar to those used in other areas of forensic science.[1]

[1] ISO/IEC 17025:2017, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, incorporated into accreditation programs such as American National Standards Institute National Accreditation Board (ANAB) and National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA).


Private: Nathan Scudder

Coordinator of Research and Innovation, Australian Federal Police

Dr Nathan Scudder is the Coordinator of Research and Innovation at the Australian Federal Police’s Policing Development and Innovation area. Nathan commenced with the Australian Federal Police in 1999, working in Forensics from 2002 to 2014, where he contributed to operations including the AFP response’s to the Bali Bombings in 2002 and Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Dr Scudder is a member of the Australian Forensic Genetic Genealogy Collaboration, working to assess the feasibility of advanced DNA capabilities to solve crimes in Australia.

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