Tulsa DNA Experts Train Sri Lankan Biologists

Friday, August 24th 2012, 5:19 pm
By: Craig Day

Oklahoma expertise in DNA testing is being shared as a group of forensic biologists from Sri Lanka wraps up weeks of training in Tulsa.

They are finishing up training in DNA analysis at the OSU School of Forensic Sciences in Tulsa.

"These people work for the FBI equivalent in Sri Lanka," said Dr. Robert Allen, OSU Forensic Sciences.

Sri Lanka doesn't have the capability of doing DNA testing, so as part of a Department of Justice program, they're in Oklahoma to learn about DNA.

Don Jayamanne is one of the forensic biologists.

"The main idea of government of Sri Lanka is to establish new DNA lab there," Jayamanne said.

Once it's established, there will be a need for scientists with DNA training. Changing the country's DNA investigation capabilities will make a huge difference.

"Who is the culprit, who has done this case, who has done this murder?" Jayamanne said.

"Two hundred rapes they have in Sri Lanka they have every year, the 250 homicides they have every year, the 7,000 unexplained deaths and missing persons they have every year. Right now, they don't have the capabilities to address that need, and OSU is going to be a part of responding to that," said Dr.

OSU, which is one of only 18 university graduate programs in the world accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, is developing an international reputation for its program. They frequently gets inquiries from countries worldwide.

"Crime affects everyone, and good forensic science helps to solve crime and in the long run minimizes its occurrence," Dr. Allen said.

That's the goal for Sri Lanka: to revolutionize DNA law enforcement there, beginning with some expertise from Oklahoma.

"We can solve crimes more," said Don Jayamanne, Sri Lankan forensic biologist.

A group from Vietnam toured the OSU lab in Tulsa a couple of years ago.