Applications of DNA for Companion Animals and Wildlife Cases

VME 6573


This course will introduce the student to the basic understanding of DNA and how it is used to identify species and individuals and provide evidence for criminal investigations. Topics will include DNA basics for forensics, collection and processing of DNA evidence, data analysis and interpretation, written reports and courtroom testimony. Upon completion of this course, the student will have basic knowledge of how DNA is used to identify species, gender and individual identification, chain of custody, how to write a report and what is expected during testimony.


Module Topic
Week 1 Historic Overview of Forensic DNA
Week 2 Use of DNA for Animal Forensic Investigations
Week 3 Species Identification and Individualization
Week 4 Collection and Proper Storage of Evidence
Week 5 Extracting DNA for Forensic Assays
Week 6 Processing DNA: PCR Optimization, Efficiency, Reliability
Week 7 Midterm Exam: Covering all Previous Material
Week 8 Species tests
Week 9 Interpretation of Data: Species Tests
Week 10 Genetic Profiles (DNA Fingerprinting)
Week 11 Interpretation of Data: Genetic Profiles (DNA Fingerprinting)
Week 12 Written Report
Week 13 Expert Witness Testimony
Week 14 Wildlife Involving CITES
Week 15 Final Exam: Covering all Previous Material

Text (Required):

Linacre, Adrian M.T. and Tobe, Shanan S., 2013.   Wildlife DNA Analysis: Applications in Forensic Science. Wiley-Blackwell Publications.