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The Development and Validation of Microbial Soil Community Analyses for Forensics Purposes (MISAFE)
Start date: Jun 1, 2013, End date: May 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Crime-fighting is a significant concern of the European Union. The EU is committed to fighting all forms of serious, organised and transnational crime. This commitment has led to the decision in 1999 to create a network of national authorities responsible for crime prevention, and later to the establishment (in 2001) of the European Crime Prevention Network and specifically, in the support of forensic science. This project (MiSAFE – Microbial Soil Analysis) fits as a part of this commitment to a safe Europe. It also reflects the EU’s 2020 Flagship Initiative (SEC(2010) 1161) for increasing the output of innovative research to the entrepreneurial world.Soil intelligence can usually be re-assessed to provide direct evidence during the evidential phase of an investigation, where it is being assembled against a specific suspect. Such soil evidence is often comparative, but clearly it is necessary for the soil expert to assist the court as to the likelihood of the results being derived from some other, unrelated, location. The development of soil DNA tools within MiSAFE will improve on conventional approaches.The partnership comprises two SMEs, two police forces and three academic institutions. The overall aim of MiSAFE is to develop tools for crime-fighting and crime-prevention, providing opportunities for European SMEs to lead in this new field of environmental genetic forensics.The specific project objectives will be to:1. Develop appropriate sample collection, storage, and processing tools for soil DNA as applied to forensic science.2. Apply and delimit the use of DNA-based technologies in soil forensic science for search and evidence.3. Develop and apply data analysis software and user interface for soil DNA tools.4. Validate and legally consolidate the use of microbial soil forensic science across the range of EU legal systems.5. Provide basic standards and procedures for creating a pan-EU soil microbial database.

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