Department of Genetics

Smajda György, Friday 09 October 2015 - 13:15:52

János WOLLER forensic geneticist

The department has been developed from the Laboratory for serology and biochemistry of the Institute for Forensic Techniques of Ministry of Interior – later Institute for Forensic Sciences. As a result of the scientific preparatory work, in 1989-90 the technological developments to introduce study of DNA characteristics (polymorphic DNA loci) could be started in the Laboratory mainly performing serological (blood groups, antigens) and biochemical (proteins, enzymes) investigations on biological traces collected at crime scenes. Due to these developments in year 1992—first time in Hungary—DNA tests were carried out and their results were officially reported by the Laboratory in a murder case. Since that time the permanent personal and structural development resulted in an internationally accepted expert group, which contributes in many ways to the main activities of IFS. At present this scientific group, now as one of the departments of IFS, works on various fields of forensic genetics.

The Department has been working as an independent unit of IFS since 2000. It performs its scientific activity in three groups. The work of groups is supported by an IT specialist and by the secretariat. The total number of employees is 30. The task of the IT specialist is to maintain and develop a laboratory information management system (LIMS) specially tailored for the activity and structure of the Department.

The main activity of the Department is the DNA expert reporting for the Police, for the Prosecutor’s Department and for the court. The reliability of expert reports is supported by permanent national and international trainings, by introduction of new methods of international compatibility, and by strict documentation. The Department annually takes part in five proficiency tests organized by two companies (GEDNAP, CTS). The Department has validated the internationally accepted methods for the local Hungarian population and laboratory circumstances. These results are also utilized by several other DNA laboratories in Hungary. The application of these methods and the long term experience enable our expert group to take the challenges of various criminal and genetic issues in accordance with internationally compatible standards.

In special cases the experts of the Department take part in crime scene investigation as well. To support this activity the Department has been participating in proficiency tests of bloodstain pattern analysis since year 2003.

The Department has the duty to maintain and manage the national criminal DNA profile database. The database is set up on CODIS software which is fully compatible with the international data exchange system of Prüm Treaty. To prepare the technical joining to the system of the Treaty is also an important task of the Department.

Beyond the expert work the employees of the Department take part in different scientific projects, aiming the development of technology of forensic genetics. As a further activity, the Department organizes and participates in gradual and post-gradual trainings.

The Department acts in tight collaboration with universities, international organizations (ENFSI, Interpol, Europol, Prüm Treaty, Salzburg Forum), and in the implementation of EU developing projects (Twinning lights, Framework Partnership).