Record-setting 2200 forensic DNA experts attend Promega-hosted virtual symposium

An infant kidnapped from a Chicago hospital. A man who became an “unidentified living person” the instant a DNA test disproved his past. An internationally known investigative genetic genealogist who helped solve the mystery of their true identities.

Record-setting 2200 forensic DNA experts attend Promega-hosted virtual symposium
The International Symposium on Human Identification kicks off virtually today with a record-setting 2200 forensic DNA experts participating from around the world. Promega, a manufacturer of products for DNA-based human identification, has hosted the annual meeting for 31 years. (Graphic: Business Wire)

This is the story genetic detective CeCe Moore, along with Paul Fronczak, abandoned as a toddler 55 years ago, will recount today as they open the 2020 International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI).

ISHI is the largest and longest-running meeting focusing entirely on forensic DNA. Promega, a manufacturer of products for DNA-based human identification, began the annual meeting 31 years ago to facilitate collaboration and innovation. This year’s virtual platform, offering a mixture of live and on-demand presentations, is enabling a record-setting 2200 people to attend, and registration is still open.

“Advancing forensic DNA science is what ISHI is about,” said Moore, an innovator on the use of DNA to resolve unknown parentage. For instance, she recalled a “quite forward thinking and prescient” panel discussion she participated in at ISHI 2014 about how SNP genotyping and genetic genealogy could be applied to law enforcement. “Everybody in that room started thinking about the future.”

Today, genetic genealogy has been used to solve several high-profile crimes, including California’s Golden State Killer case in 2018. (The detective who helped solve the case, Paul Holes, was the ISHI keynote speaker in 2019.) Moore leads Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs’ unit that applies genetic genealogy to identify crime suspects. She is also the subject of ABC’s new The Genetic Detective series, and the full-time genetic genealogist of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on PBS.

ISHI brings together a wide range of forward-thinking forensic DNA experts. Participants are involved in all aspects of DNA typing and come from state, federal and local crime labs in the US and around the world, parentage and testing laboratories, academic institutions, governmental research agencies and policy think tanks. Discussions center on emerging technologies, changing policies and advances in forensic DNA analysis. ISHI 2020 topics include:

  • Rapid DNA technology
  • Probabilistic genotyping
  • Forensic genetic genealogy
  • Massively parallel sequencing

Presentations will be available for on-demand viewing until October 14, so registration remains open. For more information on topics, speakers and registration, visit


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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