The Quebec Forensic Science Laboratory will be able to solve old cases

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Quebec's Forensic Science Laboratory will be able to solve old cases

Advances in scientific case analysis (or forensic science) make it possible to solve crimes years after they were committed.

Genetic investigators at the Laboratory of Forensic Sciences and Medicine legal du Québec (LSJML) and police forces are on the verge of freeing themselves from their dependence on private American laboratories.

New technologies made available to them could even help solve unsolved crimes.

The management of the laboratory presented to the media, on Tuesday, the new technological tools and procedures which have just been implemented or which are in the process of being implemented.

In addition advancement of unsolved cases, these technologies will support the investigation of missing persons, the identification of human remains and, above all, the resolution of serious crimes such as murders, attempted murders, sexual assaults and serial crimes.

For our families in Quebec or the victims themselves, it is important to be able to give answers, to be able to guide and support the police services in their investigations, argued the director general of the laboratory, Suzanne Marchand, during a technical briefing on these new tools.

Resolving cases that remain a mystery to police forces, commonly referred to as cold cases, appears now feasible, according to the director of biology at LSJML, Diane Séguin.

These technologies have a lot of potential. We are currently working on some files. We have a lot of hope that some cases will be solved by these new investigative techniques, she said. However, the lab's representatives have warned on a few occasions that they have no intention of addressing specific cases.

Until now, several of the expertise required by the police had to be requested from private American laboratories. With the implementation of the new technologies presented on Tuesday, we sincerely have nothing to envy to any laboratory whatsoever in the world. On the contrary, we are very well equipped and from the moment it is definitively put in place, we will not have – and the police forces will not have – to resort to laboratories other than the laboratory of Quebec, said Ms. Marchand.

Already, however, the team of some 90 people assigned to crime scene analysis was busy, said Ms. Séguin.

In Quebec, approximately 7,000 requests are analyzed in various types of records, whether murder, attempted murder, assault with a weapon, break and enter, etc., which corresponds to 25,000 DNA samples analyzed per year.

For example, the laboratory's experts will be able to link individuals, in particular members of criminal gangs, to each other based on the common files in which their DNA has been found, through the analysis of DNA networks. It will also be possible, in cases of serious unsolved crimes or identification of human remains, to determine certain characteristics of physical appearance such as the color of the eyes, hair or skin, through phenotyping, a form of genetic robot portrait.

Also, the patronymic-Y identification technique, based on the analysis of the Y chromosome which does not vary step from father to son, will be very useful for establishing a paternal family line and obtaining, in particular, the possible surname of a suspect.

Finally, the laboratory will be equipped a hand-held device that can generate a DNA profile in just two to three hours for comparison purposes, which could help guide an investigation quickly upon arrival at a crime scene. /p>

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