Phase 3 (2007 Deadline)
Development of DNA Database for Convicted Offenders in Pakistan
Mohammad A. Tahir, Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office, Cleveland, OH
Shaheen N. Khan, Centre for Applied Molecular Biology, Lahore
Pakistani Funding (MoST): $60,000
US Funding: $90,000
Project Dates on US Side: May 1, 2008 - April 30, 2010 (Project Terminated)
By combining the resources of the two organizations involved—the Centre for Applied Molecular Biology (CAMB) and Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office—this project will provide Pakistani scientists with the most advanced forensic science technologies, allowing the country to take greater steps towards self-sufficiency in the fight against domestic and international criminal activity occurring on Pakistani soil. This project will not only bring the latest scientific knowledge to Pakistan, but it will also enable Pakistani scientists to impart this knowledge within the law enforcement and legal communities, so that the science can be used effectively from start to finish within the justice system. This system-wide approach in preventing and solving crimes has been successful in many parts of the world, so it should bring greater safety to Pakistani citizens and justice to those who would seek to use Pakistan to foment terrorist activity.
CAMB is the first dedicated laboratory engaged in forensic DNA testing services in Pakistan and collaborated with Dr. Tahir on a project funded in Phase 1 of the Pakistan-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Program. The current project builds on the previous one to focus specifically on a national DNA database, which is currently lacking in Pakistan. Therefore, the main goals of this project are to lay the groundwork for development of a DNA database for convicted offenders; train a group of scientists specifically for the development and usage of a DNA database; and promote the use of DNA technology by holding specifically designed symposia and seminars for the relevant stakeholders and training courses for criminal investigations officers in identification, collection, and preservation of biological evidence from the crime scene.
Dr. Tahir, PI on the U.S. side, has left the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office and the project has been terminated.
Progress Report Summaries
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Plans had originally called for a group of four Pakistani trainees to come to Dr. Tahir’s lab in 2008, but when they were unable to obtain visas in time, he decided to conduct the training in Pakistan instead. He participated in a training workshop at CAMB March 23 through April 12, 2008. The workshop trained 60 police and forensic technicians in evidence collection and preservation. He reports that as a result of the workshops conducted in the Phase 1 project as well as this one, the success rate in forensic cases has risen, and CAMB is now receiving 40 to 50 cases per month for processing, up from the previous level of about 15 per month. During this visit, Dr. Tahir also spent time conducting practical competency exams for six Pakistani forensic scientists. On a return visit August 29 through September 14, 2008, he worked with his CAMB counterparts to review their operating procedures in detail and make recommendations to facilitate the lab’s upcoming application for ISO 17025 accreditation. During his visits, he also provided CAMB with a total of $13,000 worth of reagents and supplies purchased from his grant. In 2009 Dr. Tahir hopes to host at least two trainees at his lab and to travel to Pakistan again himself to continue working with his colleagues on proficiency testing, quality assurance, and development of procedures for institution of a national DNA database.
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