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FORS301 Analytical Forensic Biology

Forensic applications of biological information, particularly DNA, and its integration with other biological evidence. Emphasis on the practical rigour required for such analyses, and estimation of error and uncertainty in forensic data, and the statistical interpretation of such data.

This paper focuses on biological aspects of forensic science. In particular we examine the details of DNA typing and how this is done. In addition to the technical aspects of this work, attention is paid to the limitations of the technique and to good procedure in its use. Other topics include tracing biological products and the role that mass isotopes play in this process. We also examine the forensic biology of sight and vision and discuss how what we see may differ from what is actually present. The final section of the paper examines new techniques and ethical and ideological issues that are associated with forensic analyses of biological samples.

Paper title Analytical Forensic Biology
Paper code FORS301
Subject Forensic Analytical Science
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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FORS 201
Recommended Preparation
GENE 222
Schedule C
This paper is required for BAppSc Forensic majors. Other students with an interest in forensic analysis would also find this paper useful, and it complements courses in biological and chemical sciences, genetics and disciplines such as law.
Teaching staff
Associate Professor Craig Marshall

Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will

  • Articulate a broad understanding of contemporary biological and molecular life sciences, particularly as they relate to forensic science
  • Appropriately communicate forensic concepts to both specialist and general audiences
  • Identify and critically evaluate relevant information
  • Work effectively both independently and as part of a team

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
C1 Wednesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
D1 Thursday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
E1 Friday 09:00-09:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 30-34, 36-40