Genetyczna identyfikacja człowieka – zarys historii kryminalistycznych badań DNA
HUMAN GENETIC IDENTIFICATION – THE HISTORY OF IMPLEMENTATION OF DNA TESTING INTO POLISH FORENSIC PRACTICE
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This overview presents the history of implementation of DNA testing into Polish forensic practice, possibilities of contemporary methods of identification of biological trace evidence, dead bodies and human remains as well as prospects related to the development of identification of offenders. In 2015, 25 years passed since the implementation of molecular biology techniques into Polish forensic practice. These novel methods and technologies have added an unprecedented dimension to human identification, wherein a unique DNA profile can be nowadays determined from samples containing as little as 2ng /2x10-9g/ DNA. In 1985, Alec Jeffreys, a geneticist from the University of Leicester reported that the human genome contains simple oligonucleotide repeats with identical sequence, yet different patterns in terms of the number of repeats and frequencies among individuals. Since an infinite number of such patterns is possible, a unique characteristics can be conferred on every single individual in a population. This discovery, along with the development of novel molecular biology tools, have opened the way for the introduction of DNA testing into forensic medicine (settling the cases of disputed paternity and kinship) and forensic proceedings (individual identification of offenders based on analysis of biological traces). The so-called DNA fingerprinting method enabled individual identification, which constituted a major breakthrough in quality of biological trace analysis. In Poland, the above method was introduced by Prof. R. Słomski from the Institute of Human Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. On 15 May 1989, Prof. Słomski presented the Court with a forensic expertise containing unquestionable conclusions, based on the results of analysis conducted in accordance with the novel method. In the same year, the team led by Prof. Słomski was granted the State Award of the 1st Class for implementing molecular biology methods into Polish forensic practice. The years 1992-94 saw the introduction into forensic analyses of a molecular biology technique referred to as the Polymerase Chain Reaction, developed by K. Mullis, which constitutes a quantitative breakthrough in that it allows to analyze biological trace evidence containing as little as 2ng /2x10-9g/ DNA. In Poland, the DNA amplification reaction was pioneered by Prof. R. Słomski in August 1989, whereas in December 1992 the DNA from biological trace evidence was for the first time amplified by Dr. A. Tucholska-Lenart in the laboratory of the Internal Security Agency. The introduction of highly polymorphic repetitive sequences (STRs) and the development of advanced molecular technologies and techniques at the end of the nineties led to automation of DNA analyses and adoption of European standards, which facilitated international cooperation and comparability of laboratory results. Such endeavors are increasingly coordinated by Interpol, as well as by the ENFSI DNA Working Group. Presently, STR analysis is routinely used both in forensics (identification of biological traces and offenders) and in forensic medicine (settling the cases of disputed paternity and identification of dead bodies and human remains). Nowadays, the eyes of scientists and practitioners are on laser microdissection technology, which allows to recover single cells from biological trace evidence and can be subsequently used in molecular analyses aimed at determining an offender’s DNA profile. The implementation of this technique in Poland was concluded in the year 2011 by the team led by Dr. R. Wierzchoslawski at the Forensic Laboratory of the Internal Security Agency, as part of research and development of the project „AriaDNA 2010” No. 0R00002712, funded by the National Centre for Research and Development.
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