An International Symposium of Celebrations

The Tenth Anniversary of the GCLAITH

Ludmila Borges, Monica Perez, and Gloria de la Torre, Promega

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This year, the GCLAITH, Grupo Cientifico Latino-Americano de Trabajo Sobre Identificación Humana or Latin American Scientific Group on Human Identification Work celebrated its 10th anniversary during the 30th International Symposium of Human Identification. The celebration included a champagne toast with commemorative cupcakes and the presence of long-time attendees to an event that was described as “the best GCLAITH meeting ever”.

The GCLAITH began at ISHI 21 in San Antonio, TX in 2010, and has become the venue where opinion leaders and forensic scientists from Latin America gather to exchange information, challenges and knowledge in their own languages: Spanish and Portuguese. This meeting is relevant for the Latin American Forensic genetic community that covers over 20 countries, represented every year by analysts, lab directors and managers of different labs. The GCLAITH meeting has aimed to facilitate, improve and enhance their network.

Attendees of the 10th GCLAITH Meeting

The GCLAITH meeting began with a reduced group chaired by Dr. Daniel Corach from Argentina, who was also the head of the Latin American Scientific Group at that time. Over the past 10 years, this meeting has grown larger and larger, with chairpersons representing countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay, and attendees from almost all the countries in the region.

A meeting “set apart” from others in the area, and the perfect partnership with ISHI.

The fact that the forensic geneticists attending can communicate and present their research in their native tongue creates an opportunity for networking, development and advancement.

Since Latin American countries share similar political, economic, and developmental levels, the GCLAITH also offers the opportunity to exchange experience and needs and challenges, constituting a key reason for its success.

Another important aspect that sets the GCLAITH apart from other meetings is that it is a scientific meeting with a strong emphasis on practical applications, without a commercial bias.

One of the benefits of the GCLAITH meeting is being part of ISHI’s agenda. The GCLAITH meeting attendees also have a great opportunity to attend the world’s largest annual conference focusing entirely on DNA forensics, allowing them easy access to the newest advances in forensics DNA technology from the best experts in this field. Attendees are also allowed access to all infrastructure, facilities, venue, meals, and social events. It´s convenient for the scientists sharing the same logistics and travel expenses to attend both ISHI and the GCLAITH meeting.

A presenter during the GCLAITH Meeting

It is also a good time to be around friends and colleagues who have the same interests and to learn about the latest advancements, trends, and research. The exhibits and posters provide ideas for implementing new procedures or technology, and showcasing their work to a larger audience.

A meeting that brings the LatAm forensic genetics community together around new developments and challenges in the field.

GCLAITH constitutes an annual opportunity to stay up to date with the current technologies, quality assurance standards, legal aspects, and learn more about the direction the field is headed in.

It is the best time for personal face-to-face conversations and interactions with colleagues and friends from Latin America, and a great opportunity for future collaborations and exchanges of knowledge and experience.

Over these 10 years, the GCLAITH meeting has featured speakers from the most important laboratories in Latin America, from Mexico to Chile, including Brazil. The main topics covered over the years include validation, complex sample cases, mixture interpretation, statistics, disaster victim identification (DVI), DNA database, genetic genealogy and the implementation of NGS technology.

Attendees of the 10th GCLAITH Meeting

Topics of important social and political natures were also addressed, as in the identification of missing persons, such as during the military dictatorship period in Argentina - “The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo”.

The GCLAITH success through the years has also involved sustained collaboration with other parties such as the ISHI organizers, Promega colleagues, and Promega distributors who have contributed to the participation of specialists from their regions.

We, therefore, encourage all the Latin American forensic community to attend the GCLAITH meeting. Even those who are not part of Latin America are very welcome.

Every year we look for a Spanish-speaking key opinion leader from different countries to be the chairperson of the meeting. We always try to get as many countries as possible involved. If you are interested in chairing a GCLAITH meeting, we invite you to visit the ISHI website or contact the person responsible for your region.

Monica Perez - Mexico and the Caribbean

Gloria de la Torre - South America (except Brazil)

Ludmila Borges - Brazil