SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series, Mechthild Prinz, Forensic Genetics

Monday May 22nd

Mechthild Prinz

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, USA

Mechthild Prinz is currently an associate professor and the director of the Master in Forensic Science Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Her MS in Biology is from the University of Cologne; her PhD in Human Biology from the University of Ulm, both in Germany. Prior to joining John Jay College, Dr. Prinz gained more than 20 years of casework experience in paternity testing, disaster victim identification, and criminal casework at the Institute of Legal Medicine of the University of Cologne and the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City. Her research continues to focus on optimizing testing and interpretation for low template DNA samples.

Forensic Genetics – Scientific and Legal Challenges in Criminal Casework

Scientific advances in forensic DNA testing and data interpretation have resulted in increased success rates for many different types of biological evidence, including minute traces of shed skin cells found on fingerprints. This has heightened concerns about the reliability and probative value of DNA results. In the future, court testimony on positive DNA associations between evidence and suspect will have to go beyond a mere statistical weight assessment. Detecting a very rare genetic profile does not necessarily implicate the suspect, if the DNA could have been left at the scene independent of the crime.  In this seminar I will discuss current research on passive DNA transfer and applicable interpretation strategies. Likelihood ratios or Bayes nets are useful tools for the evaluation of competing case scenarios, if data on DNA background, transfer and persistence are available.

Host: Marie Allen (