Lectures and seminars MEB seminar: Ricky Ansell
Speaker: Ricky Ansell, Senior forensic advisor at the Biology section at the National Forensic Centre within the Swedish Police Authority and Associate professor at IFM/Biology at Linköping University
Title: Fighting Crime with DNA
Since its introduction in the late 80-ties as a novel and most powerful tool to help solving crime, forensic DNA techniques has impressively developed further and today DNA findings are central in many crime cases to reach a final verdict. The initial “DNA fingerprints” requiring biological stains with high levels of good quality DNA, successively changed into “DNA profiles” based on minute traces of DNA left behind as “touch DNA”. The DNA results of today are usually not contested on whose, but rather how and when. At the same time, an increased sensitivity produces more complex results. Expert systems based on “probabilistic genotyping” are today used to deconvolute complex DNA mixtures originating from several individuals, results being impossible to handle manually. Already old, and other still emerging techniques generate DNA-based intelligence leads to the police inquiries, rather than being proof for the court. Part of this is the use of national DNA databases with modified search settings “familial searches” potentially detecting close relatives to investigate further for relatives interesting to swab for a direct comparison with the crime scene DNA profile of interest. Certain markers in coding regions together with prediction models and reference populations may assist in giving investigative leads regarding physical traits (e.g. eye-, hair- and skin colour) and biogeographical origin. These markers and tools are continuously developed for new traits and even more stringent predictions. One of the latest tools gaining much attention is law enforcement use of commercial genetic genealogy databases. The Swedish police was first outside North America to apply genetic genealogy in solving a double murder case in 2020 but the method has so far not been implemented due to legal implications.
More about the speaker
Ricky Ansell started his forensic career in 1995 as reporting officer and headed trace recovery staff and the DNA reporting officers until 2009, and since then holds a position as senior forensic advisor at the Biology section at the National Forensic Centre within the Swedish Police Authority. Since 2007 Ansell holds a position as associate professor at IFM/Biology at Linköping University. Since 2006 Ansell is the Swedish representative at the ENFSI DNA Expert Working Group and the European DNA Profiling Group and since 2014 appointed expert at Swedish Institute for Standards and part of the global ISO/TC272 committee working on forensic science standards. Ansell headed the Swedish Police pilot study on the use forensic genetic genealogy 2018-2020.
There will be sandwiches for everyone offered by MEB at 12:00, you need to sign up for this no later than Friday March 10: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdB6Dv7rBv1oaSu2FqBbjvnanEfm5XE4ruhGyX7_G5pHjrcdg/viewform?usp=sf_link