Open Letter on critical approaches to Forensic DNA Phenotyping (FDP) and ‚Bio-Geographical Ancestry‘ (BGA) and Contextualization
Welcome to the website of our Initiative, which is associated with the Chair in Science and Technology Studies at the University Freiburg.
Since November 2016, investigators, politicians, and journalists have advocated that the use of expanded forensic DNA analysis in Germany should be legalized. In the media, the representation of this technology has been strikingly unilateral. From our perspective, however, the discussion about this complex topic is too uncritical, which is why we intend to expand the debate with critical perspectives – or rather to initiate a first real discussion.
In December 2016, we – an interdisciplinary initiative of natural and social scientists – composed an open letter, in which we critically addressed the expanded use of forensic DNA analysis. We have published this open letter, as well as additional information on the topic of extended DNA analyses in forensics, on this website.
Recent articles on forensic DNA phenotyping legislation in Germany and our initiative:
- An English version of our article „Lost in Translation: Why the U.S. word ‚race‘ is not to be translated with the German word ‚Rasse'“ in Süddeutsche Zeitung (17.05.2018) was published on the website of the Science and Justice Research Center, University of California, Santa Cruz.
- Science, 15.05.2018, In Germany, controversial law gives Bavarian police new power to use DNA, Gretchen Vogel
- Genomeweb, 04.05.2018, European Consortium to Validate NGS Toolkit for Analyzing Phenotypes in Forensics, Turna Ray
- Genomeweb, 04.05.2018, Push for Forensic DNA Phenotyping, Ancestry Testingin Germany Raises Discrimination Concerns, Turna Ray
On this website you can find:
- The open letter on critical approaches to Forensic DNA Phenotyping (FDP) and ‚Bio-Geographical Ancestry‘ (BGA).
- our Statement on three current legislative initiatives to expand the use of DNA analyses in criminal investigations (in English, mid May 2017).
- Background information on the media debate and the draft legislation, proposed by the state of Baden-Württemberg, to extend the scope of forensic DNA analysis; including an overview over the public debate from November 2016 to early February 2017 (in German).
- Statements from politics and sciences on this topic (in German).
- Selected professional and scholarly literature and further resources on problematic aspects on extended DNA analyses used in criminal investigations (many of them in English).
- A press review on the media (most of them in German)
- Further information about the members of our initiative
- Our contact information
This website is editorially supervised by Prof. Veronika Lipphardt (Science and Technology Studies, University College Freiburg) and Prof. Anna Lipphardt (Institut für Kulturanthropologie, Universität Freiburg).