ISFG - International Society for Forrensic Genetics 


The EDNAP group in 1996The EDNAP group in 1996
In 1998 EDNAP had its tenth anniversary and this provides an opportunity to look back briefly on the way in which the group developed during its first ten years.
With the dawn of DNA analysis for use in individualisation a few laboratories in Europe, who were well versed in the use of genetic markers for crime work, began to incorporate the new technology into their practical work. It was an initiative of the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (MPFSL) in London to bring people of those laboratories together to see whether it could be possible to agree on analytical systems to be used by all laboratories in order to create results that could be exchanged between the laboratories. The logic behind that was that within the European community cross border crimes occurred and therefore there was a need for a European system which would create comparable results. Peter Martin, at that time working at the MPFSL, telephoned colleagues in those laboratories to encourage them to attend a meeting where that item could be discussed.

The first meeting

In October 1988 a group of forensic scientists working in government as well as university laboratories met in a Metropolitan Police facility on October 15th/16th, 1988 in Sunbury near London. There were 11 participating laboratories but it is not necessary to identify these laboratories in this short historical review. At this first meeting a few commercial companies were invited to present their products related to DNA analysis. All participants agreed that collaboration would be helpful and 'harmonisation' (as the participants called it) of DNA analysis throughout Europe could have some advantage in supporting investigations of cross border crimes. At the end of the Sunbury meeting the only important decision taken was to meet again to discuss the topic in more depth.
The original EDNAP logoThe original EDNAP logo

The creation of the name

At the second meeting hosted by Bernd Brinkmann of the institute of legal medicine of the University of M√ľnster the name of the group was created: 'European DNA Profiling' later became commonly known by the synonym 'EDNAP'.

The aims

In the beginning the aims of the EDNAP group were defined as the use of common standards for DNA analysis in forensic casework to enable the comparison of data obtained in laboratories of the participating European countries.

The first collaborative exercise

At the second meeting the group decided on a collaborative exercise aimed at standardisation. Each participating laboratory extracted DNA of one person and sent aliquots to each other laboratory. The aliquots had to be sufficient to run 10 RFLP experiments from each sample. The results of this giant exercise created a tremendous amount of statistical data of inter- and intra- laboratory measurements. The results were published as were the results of all subsequent exercises (refer to the list of publications in this homepage). The important proposition was that all laboratories had to use the same restriction enzyme (Hinf I) and the same probes (MS 43 and YNH 24).

The working group within the ISFG

Since its inception the group had remained as an informal gathering of scientists but in 1991 EDNAP became an official working group of the International Society for Forensic Haemogenetics, now the ISFG.

Switch over to STRs

In 1992 at a meeting in Oslo the group came to the conclusion that RFLPs were 'disappearing' from forensic casework and were being replaced by methods that used the PCR based analyses. Thus, the group decided to concentrate all further work on the evaluation of STR loci.

The membership

The members of the group are listed in this homepage. From the beginning it was obvious that all European countries should be represented in the group. However, it was also realised that if the group became too big it would be impossible to organise and perform collaborative exercises. Thus, it was decided to accept one representative of each new country that had not been involved from the beginning. It would be the duty of representatives to distribute the EDNAP information within their own country and to establish national working groups from laboratories involved in forensic casework. Thus, a most important criterion for the acceptance of a new member was that in being a representative they would be willing to communicate with other related laboratories within their particular country.


As mentioned above all collaborative exercises performed by the group have so far been published and thus made available to scientific community in general. Following the publication of the EDNAP exercises many laboratories within Europe found it advantageous to adopt the use of the same loci and methodology. Thus, even before the discussions on creating national DNA databases arose, forensic laboratories in most European countries were already able to supply data that could be directly compared throughout Europe.

Last modified 15 years and 8 months ago by Sascha Willuweit