AP0634 - Forensic Genetics and Anthropology

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will follow on from the body fluids and BPA and DNA profiling modules introduced at level 5 on this programme, applying the knowledge gained to more complex case-based scenarios and interpreting challenging data, e.g. complex mixtures. The limitations of current methodology will be reviewed in detail, including a thorough examination of DNA profile artefacts, analytical thresholds and alternative statistical approaches to data analysis. In addition to existing methods, you will also be introduced to a range of alternative methods that use different genetic markers including RNA to build a more complete picture of the sample type under examination and the identity of the sample donor. New materials will introduced in the fields of anthropology and forensic taphonomy to provide a good coverage of methods used in forensic biology. Key topics covered are listed below:

Interpretation of complex DNA profiles, including mixtures
The effect of mutation on DNA data, including kinship analysis
Genetic tissue identification
DNA sequencing applications
Genetics of externally visible characteristics
Biogeographic ancestry
Anthorpological methods
Forensic taphonomy
Proteomics

How will I learn on this module?

Theoretical material will be delivered to you using a combination of traditional lectures, seminars, tutorials and in-class discussions. To embed the knowledge you will also be given the opportunity to carry out practical laboratory work relevant to the module.

Technology enabled learning will be used throughout this module to ensure that you have access to the required materials from a range of online sources including PC, laptop, tablets and mobile devices using the relevant software and apps.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through active participation and discussion during laboratory practical sessions and tutorials. These offer a unique opportunity to fully understand the scientific theory underpinning the laboratory tests and the interpretation of your scientific findings.
All lecture and practical material will be available on the University’s eLearning Portal, supplemented with guidance on further reading relevant to the subjects.
Written assessment feedback will also be provided to allow you to understand how you performed and how you can build on this performance in subsequent assessments within your programme.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• You will be expected to demonstrate a broad knowledge of current and emerging techniques in forensic genetics

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• You will be required to show an ability to explain and critically appraise results generated using forensic genetic methods in a case oriented context

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• You will be expected to provide your own opinion on the ethical and/or legal issues associated with the implementation of novel genetic approaches to forensic investigation

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment opportunities will be used throughout this module in the form of quizzes and tutorial tasks to allow you to monitor your progress. Tasks will be designed to prepare you for the summative assessment methods used in this module.

Summative assessment will comprise two equally weighted components.
1. A piece of written coursework (1500 – 2000 words) based on the implementation of an emerging forensic genetic technique MLO 3 with consideration of associated ethical considerations will be set.
2. A 1.5 hour unseen examination including data analysis and interpretation style and long answer questions will be used to test the remaining learning outcomes MLO 1,2

Pre-requisite(s)

Fundamental Forensic Genetics (Level 5)

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

On this module you will cover complex DNA profile interpretation issues relating to real-life casework experiences. The limitations of current methodology will be reviewed in detail, including a thorough examination of DNA profile artefacts, analytical thresholds and alternative statistical approaches to data analysis. In addition to existing methods, you will also be introduced to a range of alternative methods that use different genetic markers including RNA to build a more complete picture of the sample type under examination and the identity of the sample donor. You will also explore the contribution of anthropological methods to forensic investigation and human identification projects as well as learning more about the fate of human remains following death, also known as forensic taphonomy. You will be encouraged to engage with the taught material on a personal level and provide your own opinion on the benefits and drawbacks of existing and new techniques in the field of forensic biology.

Course info

UCAS Code F410

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Applied Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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