Alec Jeffreys Forensic Genomics Unit

Recent developments in DNA sequencing technologies have revolutionised biology and medicine, and are set to do the same for forensic science. Massively parallel sequencing (MPS; also known as next-generation sequencing - NGS) will allow much more information to be extracted from trace and damaged DNA samples, and will facilitate at-scene DNA analysis. The aim of the Alec Jeffreys Forensic Genomics Unit (based in the Department of Genetics & Genome Biology) is to be a UK centre for excellence in developing and applying MPS approaches to forensically relevant problems, including human individual identification, human population structure analysis and databasing, analysis of challenging trace materials, and animal species and individual identification.

We are honoured that Prof Sir Alec Jeffreys, who pioneered the entire field of forensic genetics back in the 1980s, has allowed us to associate his name with our unit.

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Please forward any enquiries regarding Wildlife Forensics to Jon Wetton ( or Celia May (


Our people

  • Ms Jordan Beasley: BBSRC iCASE PhD student, partnered with Verogen
  • Mr Orie Shaw: BBSRC iCASE PhD student, partnered with Oxford Nanopore Technologies
  • Ms Margherita Colucci: BBSRC iCASE PhD student, partnered with DNA WorldWide
  • Mr Ettore Fedele: NERC-CENTA PhD student
  • Ms Emily Patterson: BBSRC iCASE PhD student, partnered with Twycross Zoo and collaborating with The Zoological Society of London

Our equipment and infrastructure

Learn about our facilities here.

Our projects

Our academic collaborators

  • Prof Lisa Smith, Department of Criminology: Empowering victims of sexual violence using novel DNA collection and examination kits
  • Prof Nuala Sheehan, Department of Health Sciences: human kinship estimation from genomic data
  • Dr Richard Oduor, Kenyatta University, Nairobi: Genetic diversity in Kenya; establishing forensic reference databases for Kenyan populations

Our industrial and other partners

  • Key Forensic Services: a major forensic service provider, and a BBSRC iCASE industrial partner for Tunde Huszar's PhD
  • Verogen: the leading developer of NGS technologies for forensics, and a BBSRC iCASE industrial partner for Jordan Beasley's PhD
  • Oxford Nanopore Technologies: developer of nanopore-based technologies for single-molecule analysis, partner in our USAID-funded project, and a BBSRC iCASE industrial partner for Orie Shaw's PhD
  • Kenya Wildlife Service: the organisation that conserves and manages wildlife in Kenya, and a partner in our USAID-funded project
  • Panthera: an organisation dedicated to the conservation of the world’s 38 wild cat species and their ecosystems, and a partner in our USAID-funded project
  • Promega: developer of forensic profiling kits including NGS multiplexes, and collaborator in our BBSRC iCASE studentship on human NGS forensics
  • ThermoFisher: developer of forensic profiling kits and equipment, and partner in our EViDENCE kits project
  • IDEXX Laboratories: global market leader in diagnostics for animal health, and partner in our domestic animal databasing projects
  • Principal Forensic Services: leading provider of forensic science expertise, and a collaborator in our 2019 UoL Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Fund award
  • DNA WorldWide Group: DNA testing company running direct-to-consumer ancestry testing via Living DNA, and a BBSRC iCASE industrial partner for Margherita Colucci's PhD
  • Twycross Zoo: An outstanding zoo, and the only one in the UK that is home to all four types of great apes; a collaborator in our gorilla genomics project, and a BBSRC iCASE industrial partner for Emily Patterson's PhD
  • Zoological Society of London (ZSL): a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, and a collaborator in our wildlife conservation projects

Our services

We are currently developing our facilities to offer specialist DNA analysis services; enquiries are welcome.

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