The Origins of the International Symposium on Human Identification

Decades before forensic science fascinated Hollywood, many of the real-life heroes of forensics gathered over the longest-running and largest conference in the world focusing on DNA typing for human identification. For the past 29 years, the International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) has brought together forensic professionals from around the world to discuss and debate issues that are important and sometimes controversial in the field, to share new ideas and to collaborate to advance forensic science. The first ISHI was convened in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1989. Why Madison? The city is where the biotech company Promega Corporation got its start 40 years ago. Among the most promising products the company began manufacturing in the late 1980s were VNTR and RFLP probes that could be used in the emerging field of DNA forensics. Promega founder and CEO, Bill Linton discusses why he organized the first symposium, how the industry has evolved and his thoughts on the future of forensics.