Case Study: First NGS Resolved Case Leading to Conviction

In this interview, Dr. Peter de Knijff describes how his laboratory resolved a landmark case in the Netherlands through the employment of Next Generation Sequencing.

Dr. Peter de Knijff

Dr. Peter de Knijff. Image Credit: Verogen, Inc.

Peter de Knijff, an innovator in forensic genomics, was among the first to recognize the possibilities for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in forensic applications. Shortly after the introduction of the Illumina MiSeq system in 2011, Dr. de Knijff’s laboratory at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) acquired the platform, and in 2015, became the first forensic laboratory to be awarded an ISO017025 accreditation to carry out casework analysis with the system.

Following this, the laboratory has employed NGS on a broad variety of complex cases to comb for investigative leads, or “hits”, on the Dutch criminal offender database, and to back up claims of innocence or guilt.

In a recent case, Dr. de Knijff’s team employed NGS to interpret highly discriminating data from a complex mixed sample in a sexual assault case. This led to the world’s first reported criminal conviction based on NGS data.

In the following interview, Dr. de Knijff offers further information on this fascinating case and explains the possible implications for the future use of NGS.

Highlights of the interview include:

  • Details on how NGS was able to support this case by revealing vital data
  • Dr. de Knijff’s confidence in the court’s acceptance of the findings and why he was not concerned "for a second"
  • Why Dr. de Knijff believes it is "just a matter of time" before further court cases employ NGS data
  • Details on how his lab has employed NGS to produce profiles from other complex cases and acquit innocent defendants

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Last updated: Feb 11, 2020 at 8:04 AM

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