Directory of Forensic Genetic Research Laboratories in Europe
In our survey, 179 laboratories across Europe were identified as groups active in the field and have accepted to contribute to the network of excellence EUROFORGEN. A questionnaire was distributed to understand the activities and the needs of the European forensic genetic laboratories. 146 questionnaires from 31 different countries were received to date and analysed. Important information was derived concerning the number and type of labs in the different European countries, the level of standardization, the educational needs, the research activities and the challenges in the field.
Official labs have generally a large number of cases per year (more than 1000), while university labs have a reduced volume of cases (less than 200), and private labs an intermediate position with the majority having between 200 and 1000 cases. Most of the labs are carrying out practical casework (mainly criminal casework and paternity testing) but fewer have specialized on more complicated cases as kinship analysis or disaster victim identification cases. There is a good level of standardization in Europe concerning the type of markers; however statistics is still a challenge and most of the labs have a need on training in statistics and especially in the interpretation of complex profiles.
There is widespread concern for an increased need for education and training in forensic genetics. It is of great importance to establish a global framework across Europe in order to achieve the highest educational standards. Concerning research, a high percentage of labs is interested in research activities. 70% of the labs are performing research, of these about 80% carry out practical applied research. In addition, a number of advanced research topics are addressed in a wide range of laboratories. This is perhaps the reason of the European leadership in this field being applied research and the implementation of new makers and technologies the areas of more interest. However, funding for this type of research is difficult to obtain in most countries, and increased efforts to improve the funding situation are needed so that the European leadership can be maintained.
Please find the EUROFORGEN Directory of Forensic Genetic Research Laboratories in Europe here.