DNAforAfrica held a forensic DNA workshop, the third in the series of DNAforAfrica events launched across the African continent in the West African region in Ghana, from November 30–December 1, 2022, in Accra, at the Fiesta Royale hotel.

The two-day DNA workshop was led by Professor Bruce Budowle, who has lived through the history of forensic DNA technology. Prof. Budowle gave an introduction to forensic DNA lectures, DNA mixture interpretation, the presentation of DNA evidence, DNA laboratory workflow, and other relevant aspects of the implementation of DNA processes and standard operating procedures.

Dr. Susan Hitchin joined from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) virtually and gave lectures on the INTERPOL DNA database, the I-Familia database, and DNA exchange tools. She highlighted some key issues around the world that could be managed properly if individuals made good use of the INTERPOL international notice systems.

Mr. Yahaya Sumara Sulley, a senior research assistant from the Department of Forensic Sciences at the University for Development Studies, delivered a presentation on DNA laws and policies where he concentrated on working towards a draft law and policy that can be applied in the west African region. He emphasized the parallels between humanitarian and criminal challenges that must be supported by forensic DNA technologies in the region, as well as some sociopolitical issues that have impeded the growth of forensic DNA technology over time. He put up a plan that, in his opinion, will eventually result in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16, which accelerates the achievement of all other SDGs by fostering peace and development both inside the region and anywhere else. Mr. Yahaya Sumara Sulley, whose research interest is in forensic DNA and policy, concluded his presentation by saying,

“I am optimistic about the benefits of the DNA revolution.” “I believe the establishment of DNA laws and policies and a proper regulatory framework will bring renewed hope to victims and their relatives in special cases of violent crimes, sexual assault and gender-based violence cases, recidivism, missing and anonymous person cases, ancestry, phenotype, identity, and kinship applications within the West African Subregion.”

The workshop provided a platform for forensic specialists, respected international and local forensic experts, students, and activists from both the public and private sectors within the west African region. Throughout the workshop, a number of questions and discussions took place. Apart from being highly scientific, the event gave participants from all across the region important networking possibilities.

Also present were: Dr Vanessa Lynch, Director, DNAforAfrica; Dr Ibeh Batholomew, Assistant Director of Medical Biotechnology Department, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Abuja-Nigeria; Dr Benedict Kolee, Liberia; Marcelle A. Bebbe-Ramish, FBI; Dr Lydia Quansah, Head of Forensic Science Department, University for Development Studies, Tamale-Ghana; DSP Alexander Badu-Boateng, Ghana Police Service Forensic Science Laboratory; and Dr Pet-Paul Wapebe, Ghana Academy of Forensic Sciences; and other faculty and students from University for Development Studies, Tamale-Ghana and University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

Photocredit: Bluecraft photos; Source: DNAforAfrica

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