Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
16 October 2020 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
Kyla Dooley, runner-up in this year’s Three-minute thesis competition, wants to pursue a career working alongside police enforcement, using her knowledge of forensics to solve criminal cases and convict perpetrators.

When rapes and sexual assaults are committed, DNA evidence can play a large role in convicting the offenders. DNA evidence collected from sexual crimes can, according to Kyla Dooley, often be tricky to analyse.

Kyla has just completed her master’s degree, specialising in Forensic Genetics, at the University of the Free State (UFS). She not only thrives in this field – graduating at the top of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences in 2018 when she was awarded the Dean’s Medal – but her work also brought her the runner-up position in this year’s Three-minute thesis competition. 

She talked about her research on the use of male-specific DNA in the analysis of DNA evidence collected after crimes of a sexual nature have been committed.

Explaining her research, Kyla elaborates: “In most cases, the victim is female, while the offender is male. Therefore, the evidence is often a mixture of male and female DNA and this can make it difficult to analyse the male DNA and match it to a male suspect.”

She believes the solution to this is to target male-specific DNA in analysis. “This eliminates all female DNA and simplifies the process,” says Kyla.

“Unfortunately, male-specific DNA technology is not currently used in South Africa, because the DNA regions tested to date haven’t shown much success in distinguishing between males in our population,” Kyla points out.

“The goal is now to use DNA evidence, to match it to a suspect, and have the confidence that it came from him and only him. Or else defence lawyers could argue that it came from someone else in the population,” she says.

Improving DNA evidence

Therefore, Kyla’s research focused on evaluating a new group of male-specific DNA regions, which are to be tested yet, to see if it would be a viable option for use in South Africa. 

“I achieved this by collecting DNA samples from men on campus, processing them to obtain DNA profiles, and then determining how well these regions can distinguish between the men. The results of my research demonstrate the potential of these DNA regions to improve the use of DNA evidence when investigating sexual assaults in South Africa,” says Kyla.

She believes her study can play a role in increasing the conviction rate of sexual offenders, which could lead to a reduction in South Africa’s alarmingly high rape statistic. 

“Everyone in South Africa is affected by this horrific crime in some way or another, so the benefits of this would be widespread,” she says.

Solving crimes

Although Kyla will one day pursue further studies, she is ready for the next stage in her life. “I am in the process of applying for jobs and getting ready to dive into the real world. I’ll definitely be pursuing a career working alongside police enforcement to solve criminal cases and convict perpetrators of such crimes. Working for the NYPD in the USA or Scotland Yard in the UK is the ultimate dream job,” she says.

“I chose my field not only because the forensics world absolutely fascinates me, but also because I want to make a difference. I want to play a role in getting justice for those affected by violent crimes. One simple process in a forensic scientist’s everyday routine could be a life changer for a victim of crime,” believes Kyla.

 

 


News Archive

UFS student government elections declared free and fair
2015-09-04

The 2015/2016 Student Representative Council (SRC) elections on the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses of the University of the Free State (UFS) have been declared free and fair.

The institutional Independent Election Commission Chairperson, Mandla Ndlangamandla, commended the high level of cooperation displayed by all students who participated in the peaceful and organised elections on the Qwaqwa Campus.

“We are proud to indicate that from the beginning of the election process, there were no incidents of intimidation, disruption, threats, and violence that were reported,” he said.

Announcing the election results at Bloemfontein Campus, the representative of the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), Andrew Ndelele, also confirmed that the commission had ensured that the elections were credible.

Voter turn-out increased at both campuses compared to the previous year. The elections, which took place from Friday 28 August to 1 September 2015, saw 8% and 0.7% increases in votes casted at the Qwaqwa and Bloemfontein Campuses, respectively. 

Paseka Sikhosana, President-elect of the Qwaqwa Campus, commended the unity and orderliness displayed by students: “After the polling stations had closed, we came together and sang in peace”.

Incoming SRC President of the Bloemfontein Campus, Lindokuhle Ntuli, also endorsed the impartiality of the elections, while expressing how humbled he was by the support he received during the campaigning period.

Bloemfontein elective portfolios:



Bloemfontein Campus president: Lindokuhle Ntuli
Photo: Johan Roux

President: Lindokuhle Ntuli
Vice-President: Mpho Khati
Secretary: Tsietso Mafaso
Treasurer: Katleho Masheane
Culture: Delia Moumakwe
Sport: Kabelo Elijah Noosi
Transformation: Katleho Mmolayeng Letube
Student Accessibility and Support: Victor Fana Sejane
Media and Marketing: Peo Morwesi Segano
First-generation students: Nicola King
Legal and Constitutional Affairs: Luke Harrold Small
Student Development and Environment: Karabo Pheko

Bloemfontein ex officio portfolios:

Associations Student Council: Sikhulekile Luwaca
Academic Affairs Student Council: Letsika Liqoalane
Campus Residences Student Council: Ingrid Wentzel
Commuter Student Council: Audrey Sithebe
Postgraduate Student Council: Kamogelo Dithebe
International Student Council: Takudzwa Gezi
Student Media Council: Hatsu Mphatsoe
Rag Fundraising Council: Tubatsi Moloi
Rag Community Service Council: Johan Diedericks

Qwaqwa Campus president: Paseka Sikhosane
Photo: Thabo Kessah

Qwaqwa elective portfolios:

President: Paseka Sikhosane
Vice-President: Zethu Mhlongo
Secretary: Nondumiso Langa
Treasurer: Palesa Selepe
Student Development and Environmental Affairs: Lindokuhle Ngubane
Media and Publicity: Bongiwe Buthelezi
Politics and Transformation: Nthabiseng Mokoena

Qwaqwa ex officio portfolios:

Academic Affairs: Edward Nkadimeng              
Arts and Culture: Kwenzakwenkosi Mthethwa
Sports Affairs: Thabo Zengele                           
Rag and Dialogue: Dieketseng Mokoena
Religious Affairs: Mamosebetsi Mokoena         
Residence Affairs: Pheletso Moekoa
Off-Campus: Nicholas Sibeko

 

 

 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept