What is Forensic Genetics?

Recent developments in the field of Forensic Sciences in South Africa resulted in a shortage of forensic DNA analysts. The aim of the Forensic Genetics Honours programme is to train experts in the field of DNA Forensics. Modules such as Crime Scene Investigations (CSI), Laboratory Quality Control and DNA Profiling are presented. Research fields in Forensic Genetics include the analysis of DNA obtained from fingerprints (i.e. touch and secondary DNA transfer), molecular photofitting or phenotyping, wildlife forensics, as well as the application of molecular techniques in forensic entomology. Students can apply for positions at Forensic Science laboratories, the Local Criminal Record Centre (LCRC) or any other genetic research institution.

Forensic Genetics in the Department of Genetics

Research in this field is conducted mainly by Dr Karen Ehlers and Ms Letecia Wessels, together with the following postgraduate students:


  • Lt Col Anton Lucassen (SAPS) – 'Development of an allelic frequency DNA data for the South African population for kinship analysis and other forensic applications'


  • Mr D (Duan) Swart: 'The application of SNP markers in the South African population to infer eye colour'
  • Mr D (Dudzani) Musa: 'The application of SNP markers in the South African population to infer hair colour'
  • Mrs P (Polo) Mokoma: 'Implications of secondary DNA transfer and the public perceptions on the National DNA database of South Africa'
  • Mr D (David) Swanepoel: 'Statistical analysis of the Namibian population DNA database for forensic application'
  • Mr S (Sookrit) Hulloowan: 'Development of a standardised protocol for mixture DNA interpretation in crime scene samples'


Elfrieda Lötter: Marketing Manager
T: +27 51 401 2531

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