This second episode of the new R&D Season of the Just Science podcast series presents an interview with Dr. Kenneth Kidd, Professor Emeritus of Genetics and Senior Research Scientist at Yale University, who discusses microhaplotypes, from the history of mapping the human genome and the evolution of population genetics to the implications for forensics of new research in this field.
Because of the many years in which Dr. Kidd has been involved in genetics research, he discusses the evolution of genetics research from a focus on racial and geographic genetics to the emphasis in forensics on the uniqueness of individual genetic profiles. Dr. Kidd discusses his focus on DNA markers in forensics as being due largely to funding from the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which has had an impact on the creation and evolution of forensic DNA databases. He discusses the advent of massively parallel sequencing (MPS), which has made microhaplotypes a valuable new type of DNA marker for use in forensics. Through MPS, these markers have the statistical power to exceed that of standard forensic markers typed by capillary electrophoresis, as well as being excellent in quantifying biological relationships without being concerned about the high mutation rates.