Scientists at the University of the Western Cape say they have developed an updated DNA profiling kit that aims to do just that Identify sex offenders and stepping up the fight against gender and sex crimes.
The university says a reference DNA database developed during the process also goes a long way in confirming South Africa’s diversity.
Gender-based violence has been described as the second pandemic in South Africa. According to the latest crime statistics, over 11,000 rapes were reported between October and the end of December last year. The overwhelming majority of victims are women.
The university says the UniQ-Typer Y-10 DNA profiling kit, developed more than two decades ago by researchers at the institution, is designed to help identify perpetrators of sexual assault and other gender-based crimes by distinguishing between male and female DNA is distinguished.
“This profiling kit is able to distinguish between male and female DNA but goes one step further than where there is more than one suspect and identifies DNA between males even if they are related like brothers. So the Hollywood idea of using DNA in crime-fighting, especially when it comes to rape cases, is you can do a swap, plug it into a computer and then a picture of a suspect pops up, unfortunately it’s a lot more complicated than that.” , says Gasant Abarder from the University of the Western Cape.
The university says the study used to develop the kit took DNA from about 2,000 South African men who identified 16 different ethnic groups.
“What’s exciting outside of the crime-fighting bubble is that, for the first time, we can now look at the unique lineage of South Africans and Africans in the South African region, and that’s quite exciting for the university. We see ourselves as a research-led institution, with a particular focus on relevance not only in the local and national context but also internationally, and we strive to achieve research that is relevant to the achievement of the 19 Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations is,” adds Abarder.
The nationwide backlog of DNA testing has severely impacted the courts’ ability to hold offenders accountable.
“Right now there isn’t much trust in the criminal justice system when it comes to solving cases like rape and that in turn leads to underreporting where victims don’t feel their cases are being prosecuted, so believe We believe that this will be a massive breakthrough in addressing the high rates of prosecution and underreporting,” Abarder said.
Efforts are being made to develop the kit commercially as UWC is working with two partners in the SADC region and locally. While it’s too early to say when police labs will be able to use the updated kits at this point, the university has called the study a breakthrough.
UWC scientists develop DNA profiling kit to identify sex offenders – SABC News
Source link UWC scientists develop DNA profiling kit to identify sex offenders – SABC News