This seminar focuses on the science behind the courthouse headlines as we discuss the biological theory and analytical techniques that form forensic serology's basics. Topics include the composition of blood and semen, the molecular basis for enzymatic and antibody based analytical techniques, DNA analysis (RFLPs, VTNRs, and SNPs), and modes of inheritance of different markers (nuclear or mitochondrial DNA and protein). We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of applying these techniques to samples collected in 'real life' situations and the potential ethical implications of DNA databases such as CODIS. In addition to participating in discussions of technical literature, students will give multiple oral presentations to the class and to public audiences.
Successful completion of BIO 111/113 and at least one upper level group A biology course are required. Permission of the instructor required to register for the course.