Module Overview

DNA Profiling and Criminalistics

An in-depth analysis of testing a variety biological samples potentially found at a crime scene will be demonstrated. Emphasis will be place on the molecular testing of DNA sampled and extracted from Biological specimens to include DNA profiling, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) with Short tandem repeat and single nucleotide polymerism markers. Additional molecular tools such as analysis of mitochondrial DNA and using molecular databases to obtain information will be incorporated into the content of the module.
The aim of this module is to introduce the student to a variety of different materials encountered as evidence in criminal cases and to provide the student with a framework for the interpretation of accumulated data including the use of probability as a basis for evidence evaluation. The module provides an understanding of the methods of analysis of different evidence types with a view to presenting evidence in court

Module Code

CHEM 4013

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Section A: Criminalistics
Separation and purification of complex mixtures- solid phase extraction, acid base liquid liquid extraction, gas liquid extraction
General procedures for the analysis of bulk unknown material.
Presumptive tests, screening tests and identification tests. Chemical profiling in the analysis of drugs of abuse.

Introduction to the Bayesian statistics, interpretation using Bayesian statistics, including transfer and persistence, discrimination power, identification, significance of findings, trace evidence. Applications of Bayesian statistics to evidence interpretation (glass, fibres, DNA, etc). Defender’s and prosecutor’s fallacies, recent case studies.

Section B: DNA
To identify different biological samples that might be found at a crime scene with a particular emphasis on blood samples and analysis aswell as methods for detecting blood and confirming the presence of blood. DNA will be extracted from blood samples in the laboratory for subsequent analysis and profiling.
Detailed theory and practical analysis of DNA by PCR techniques incorporating markers of short tandem repeat and single nucleotide polymorphisms.
Learn about current and future developments in forensic biology with emphasis on current laboratory tools for analysis. Presentation and discussion with external forensic state laboratory personnel.

Laboratory work is sourced from the School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences Laboratory Manual for Criminalistics. Laboratory work for DNA profiling will be sourced from a designated laboratory manual of the School of Biological sciences

The module is delivered through a series of lectures (20 hours), tutorials (4 hours), laboratory practical classes (8 hours) and self-study (68 hours).

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination75
Other Assessment(s)25