Forensic Genetics

Like all forensic sciences, forensic genetics aids the judicial process.  Its most important sphere of activity is to investigate biological traces and allocate them to persons in order to clarify serious criminal offenses. The discipline also makes an indispensable contribution towards identifying unknown decedents with increasing importance being attached to identifying victims of mass catastrophes (e.g., natural disasters, terrorist attacks) and wars. The areas of expertise of a forensic geneticist also include genetic testing to confirm or exclude biological descent.

The Department of Forensic Genetics at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Charité is one of oldest in Germany and was founded as a “genetic research lab” in 1987 by the former director, Professor Otto Prokop. The department now has a strong research profile with focuses on population genetics and immunogenetics (see “Research”). The steadily increasing number of incoming orders (biological traces as well as descent tests for courts, private parties, and alien authorities) are handled by modern high-throughput methods under the control of a laboratory information management system (LIMS).

In addition, the Department of Forensic Genetics performs tasks in transplant diagnostics, particularly in conjunction with chimerism monitoring after stem cell transplantation. In this connection, the investigation of cell-type-specific DNA profiles is a unique feature of the department. The laboratory was accredited for all diagnostic services in forensic medicine and immunogenetics by the European Federation of Immunogenetics (EFI) and the German Society of Immunogenetics (DGI) in February 2003 and has since been subject to annual self-checks and to EFI and DGI  inspections every three years.

Address of the Department of Forensic Genetics

Forensic Genetics

The Department of Forensic Genetics is located in the Charité - Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Westring 3 / Forum 4, Augustenburger Pl. 1, D - 13353 Berlin, Germany