The foremost mission of the UGF is to use the tools of molecular biology to provide objective evidence in forensic caseworks and to answer to requests from individuals seeking information about their lineage.
The UGF is generally commissioned by official authorities but may also carry out paternity tests for private individuals outside the framework of legal proceedings.
Fields of activity
The main activities of the UGF are :
- detection of the presence of blood, saliva or sperm on any type of a sample
- expert evaluations based on DNA profiles (autosomes, X and Y chromosomes, mitochondrial DNA) obtained using samples taken from individuals or objects during forensic investigations, paternity testing or identification of deceased persons
- transmission of DNA profiles into the Swiss DNA database (CODIS)
- expert evaluations based on DNA profiles obtained using biological material of animal or plant origin as part of forensic investigations, procedures for identifying species or individuals, illegal trafficking and poaching
- research work
- teaching (university, police academy, etc).
The UGF is a laboratory in the public domain accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) to ISO 17025 standards STS-420 and is also approved by the Swiss federal police.
The UGF team comprises around twenty people including :
- A Unit head : Vincent Castella, PhD, MER, SSML Forensic Geneticist
- A Responsible of Research : Diana Hall, Dr ès Sc
- An operational manager : Christian Gehrig, MSc, SSML Forensic Geneticist
- Several forensic casework and paternity testing specialists :
Patrick Basset, Dr ès Sc
Frédéric Grosjean, Dr ès Sc
Jennifer Comte, MSc
Carmelo Simili, MSc
Séverine Delémont, MSc
- A manager in animal and plant forensic analyses : Luca Fumagalli, Dr ès Sc, PD, MER
- A bio-statistician : Joëlle Gervaix, MSc
- Several biomedical analysis technicians
- rainees (biologists, criminalists, physicians, technicians...).
To respond to requests for intervention, the UGF is equipped with the following analytical instruments :
- DNA sequencers (ABI 3130 and 3500)
- DNA extraction and pipetting robots
- PCR thermocyclers
- real-time polymerase chain reaction equipment
- laminar flow cabinets.