Anthropology | Forensic Genetics
B400 | 23266 | Kaestle


This course will explore the current literature on forensic genetics.
Topics will include paternity (and maternity) analysis, the federal
CODIS database, DNA fingerprinting, the Innocence Project,
mitochondrial DNA use, non-human genetics (analysis of DNA of
pets/plants from crime scenes), conservation genetics (use of DNA in
poaching/engangered species cases), historical forensics (e.g. the
identification of the Romanov family), Mass Disasters (e.g. 9/11),
cold cases, identification of race/ethnicity using DNA, jury
perception of DNA data, method validation, and behavioral genetics,
among others. Media coverage of selected studies will also be
explored. Emphasis will be placed on a critical examination of the
evidence, and real-world implications of these studies. However, the
exact topics to be covered will be determined by class consensus on
our first meeting, as there are simply too many topics to cover in the
time allotted..

Grades are based on discussion participation (100 points), written
critical commentaries on 5 selected readings (20 points each for a
total of 100 points) and a research paper (100 points). Thus, each
component contributes 1/3 to the grade. Anthropology B200 or
instructor’s permission is a prerequisite for enrollment in this course.