University of Washington School of Public Health

FORENSIC GENETICS BIOST 302 A / PHG 302 ( I&S / NW, QSR )

11/14/2017
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  • WIN 2018 3 credits SLN 19023 M/W 9:30- 10:50 SOCC 303
  • Prerequisites: Minimum prerequisites or consent from instructor.
  • Instructor: Bruce Weir bsweir@uw.edu, Professor of Biostatistics, and Director of the Institute for Public Health Genetics.
  • 10 Cases to be discussed in the Winter of 2018

This course uses actual cases to introduce the field of forensic genetics. Students develop the skills to interpret the evidence of matching genetic profiles; to perform calculations relevant for parentage determination; the identification of remains; and to consider the implications of familial searching of DNA databases.

Cases to be discussed:

  • 1988. R v. Colin Pitchfork (“The Blooding”) Rape and murder. First conviction based on DNA evidence.
  • 1989. People of the State of New York v. Joseph Castro. Double Murder.
  • 1989. People of the State of New York v. Joseph Castro. Double Murder.
  • 1995. People of the State of California v. O.J. Simpson. Double Murder. Football star acquitted in trial that included  DNA evidence.
  • 1996. R v. Douglas Beamish. Murder. Conviction based on DNA from cat hair.
  • 2008. People of the State of California v. Dennis Nelson. Murder.
  • 2009. McDaniel v. Troy Brown. Rape, Attempted Murder.
  • 2009. Tsar Nicholas and Family. Multiple Murder. Second grave found in 2007 contained bones of Prince Alexei and Princess Anastasia.
  • 2009-15. The Italian People v. Amanda Knox. Murder. Conviction, based in part on DNA evidence, then acquittal for UW student.
  • 2016. People of the State of California v. Lonnie Franklin (“Grim Sleeper”). 10 Murders.