New DNA lab builds SA forensics capacity

linacreA laboratory dedicated to forensic DNA research to be opened at Flinders today (Friday, August 19) will increase South Australia’s capacity in research and postgraduate education in forensic science.

The new laboratory is fitted with special “clean rooms” that incorporate filtered air systems, allowing DNA to be handled and analysed without the risk of contamination with equipment similar to that of an operational forensic laboratory.

The Forensic DNA Laboratory will be opened by the CEO of the SA Department of Justice, Mr Jerome McGuire.

Forensic biologist and the inaugural Justice Chair in Forensic DNA, Professor Adrian Linacre (pictured), said that the facility would permit valuable research on DNA to be carried out by both Flinders and Forensic Science SA.  He said that while similar laboratories are operated by Forensic Sciences SA in central Adelaide, they are dedicated to operational casework.

“This laboratory provides Forensic SA with a research environment that will enable their staff to concentrate on research projects without the distractions of casework. They also get access to supervisors and other academic expertise,” Professor Linacre said.

Professor Hilton Kobus, a former head of Forensic Sciences SA, who is now based at Flinders, said that the laboratory represented another significant step in the Flinders-State government forensic science partnership.

“We’re almost unique in Australia in the closeness of the collaboration, and we’re coming together in bigger and more visible ways,” Professor Kobus said.

Funding to refurbish the laboratory in the Physical Sciences building comes from the Burgoyne Fund, which was established with income derived from the invention at Flinders by Emeritus Professor Leigh Burgoyne of FTA paper, now a world-wide industry standard for storing DNA samples.

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