Category Archives: Forensic DNA

Journal articles relating to forensic DNA including disaster victim identification.

Report on the occurrence of synanthropic derived form of Chrysomya megacephala (Diptera: Calliphoridae) from Royapuram fishing harbour, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Biodiversity Data Journal 2: e1111 (26 Jun 2014);  doi: 10.3897/BDJ.2.e1111

The occurrence of dipteran fly, Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius, 1794) is reported for the first time from Royapuram fishing harbour (Chennai), Tamil Nadu, South East India. The fully grown third instar larvae of C. megacephala were collected from decaying fishes near Royapuram fishing harbour. This site is found to be the regular breeding site for C. megacephala. Larvae were reared under laboratory condition and freshly emerged adult flies from pupae were collected and identified by morphological features and molecular tools. Molecular identification through generation of DNA barcoding using mitochondrial COI gene of C. megacephala is appended.

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Elements of a forensic intelligence model

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 18 Jul 2014

Intelligence began as a military tool and has been in practice for centuries. Relatively speaking, forensic intelligence is in its infancy as the focus of forensic science has traditionally been the courts and the resolution of crime. The focus for forensic intelligence is crime prevention, crime disruption and a reduced fear of crime and there is an emphasis on quick results. The usual chronic backlogs that haunt forensic science prevent quick results and so the default position is courts and crime resolution. However, in a number of jurisdictions in Australia, the introduction of at-scene or on-submission triaging and the digital capture, transmission and comparison of fingerprints is leading to a marked reduction in turnaround times for forensic science results; particularly those that are effective sources of intelligence. Aspects of forensic science service delivery such as organisational structure and culture, IT capability, the relationship between police and scientists and interim reporting need to be re-considered as key elements in a forensic intelligence model. However, forensic intelligence should not stand on its own. It should become an integral part of the overall investigative tool and intelligence-led strategies.

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Comparative study of STR loci for typing old skeletal remains with modified protocols of AmpFlSTR Identifiler and AmpFlSTR MiniFiler STR Kits

Australian Journal of  Forensic Sciences 27 Jun 2014

This study highlights a comparative study of short tandem repeat (STR) loci with modified protocols of AmpFlSTR Identifiler and AmpFlSTR MiniFiler STR Kits for typing 27 old skeletal remains collected from 100–1000-year-old mass graves in Pakistan. DNA profiles were obtained from minute quantities of DNA (even from ≤ 10 pg/μL) with modified protocols of these kits, which is a significant achievement in this study. Consensus profiles were produced for each bone sample. A comparison was carried out between Identifiler and Minifiler successfully genotyped STR loci. Full concordance was perceived in 97.33% (146/150) of the compared STR loci, while discordant STR loci were 2.67% (4/150) of the total successfully genotyped STR loci due to either or both allele drop-out or drop-in. Finally, it was observed that the AmpFlSTR MiniFiler kit promoted the recovery of locus/alleles that failed to type with the AmpFlSTR Identifiler kit and more informative DNA profiles were obtained from old skeletal remains with the AmpFlSTR MiniFiler STR kit compared with the AmpFlSTR Identifiler STR kit.

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A novel approach to forensic molecular biology education and training: it’s impact on the criminal justice system

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 03 Jul 2014

The managers of crime laboratories face significant hurdles when preparing new hires to become productive members of the laboratory. New hires require six months of training/experience in the crime laboratory before becoming a productive member of the Biology (DNA) section. To address this deficiency in forensic DNA education, a novel forensic education curriculum was developed and tested for three consecutive years in the forensic science program at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC. The curriculum used a CTS proficiency kit, which is the same kit used to validate the proficiency of forensic scientists in crime laboratories in the US. A cost benefit analysis suggests that training students in a classroom instead of in a crime laboratory provides both direct savings to the laboratory and significant societal savings as more DNA profiles are entered into the database. The societal benefit from the combined reduction in the amount of training in a crime laboratory and increasing the number of DNA database profiles entered into a database suggests a societal saving of $8.28 million for each of these months of reduced training.

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‘Unreliable’ Articles, ‘Trial By Literature’ Revisited

New York Law Journal 12 May 2014

This column revisits a challenging topic that cuts across the spectrum of complex litigation—the reliance upon and use of unreliable hearsay literature by expert testifiers. Often these are technical or scientific articles published in some journal with a claim that the published work product has been “peer reviewed.”

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See also  ‘Unreliable’ Articles: More on Peer Review’s Frailties

 

DNA Analysis of Fingernail Clippings An Unusual Case Report

Am J Forensic Med Pathol 2014;35: 96-99

The case of an unusual DNA analysis of fingernail clippings
is described. A 20-year-old woman died of strangulation, and her former
boyfriend entered the police’s sight as suspect through rapid investigation
and inspection. Genomic DNA from debris scraped underneath the
suspect’s fingernail was extracted 2 days after the incident using the
modified DNA pretreatment method. Finally, mixed DNA profiles were
observed from the suspect’s fingernail clippings, one of them originating
from the victim, which is consistent with the result of criminal investigation.
With the support of strong evidence, the suspect soon confessed.
In this case, it was really unusual in practice that fingernail debris
extracted from the suspect was used to accuse the suspect himself. This
case demonstrates the usefulness of the modified DNA pretreatment
method and the possibility of getting DNA profiles from fingernail
clippings with 2 days’ lapse between the incident and recovery of the
evidential material.

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Hospital wet mount examination for the presence of sperm in sexual assault cases is of questionable value

 

Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume 59, Issue 3, pages 729–734, May 2014;  DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.12398

Many protocols for the examination of sexual assault victims include the preparation of vaginal wet mount slides to determine whether sperm are present and if so, whether the sperm are motile. We have reviewed findings in 501 case reports to compare the efficiency of sperm detection on wet mounts to subsequent crime laboratory results of sperm searches on vaginal swabs. Sperm were detected on wet mounts in only 41% of cases in which sperm were detected in the crime laboratory. Motile sperm were observed in only 12% of cases reporting a 0–9 h postcoital interval; in three cases, motile sperm were seen at 15 h and beyond, indicating that motile sperm are not reliable evidence of a short postcoital interval. These findings demonstrate that wet mount examinations are of little value in guiding subsequent analyses in the crime laboratory or in corroborating other investigative aspects of the case.

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Retrospective study of the impact of miniSTRs on forensic DNA profiling of touch DNA samples

Science & Justice Available online 17 June 2014;  DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2014.05.009

The theoretical advantages of miniSTRs are undeniable. Several studies show that miniSTRs are more sensitive and robust in the analysis of low template and degraded DNA. In this study we want to show the overall benefit of using miniSTRs in real forensic casework samples and show the percentage of samples that benefit from analysis with additional miniSTR loci in terms of resulting in a useful profile. The considered samples were 3064 touch DNA samples, analyzed in our accredited routine forensic DNA profiling laboratory between mid 2009 and mid 2013. Of these 3064 samples, 618 samples were analyzed using 13 loci, 532 samples using 15 loci and 1914 samples using 20 loci of which 5 were the mini- and midi-STR loci that were added to the extended European Standard Set (ESS). The retrospective results show a small increased success rate after implementation of extra loci and an even smaller increase after the implementation of the mini- and midi-STR analysis. The percentage of touch DNA samples that benefit from the analysis of additional mini- and midi-STR loci is limited.

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Forensic DNA databases: Ethical and legal standards: A global review

Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences Available online 7 June 2014;  DOI: 10.1016/j.ejfs.2014.04.002

Background

The Forensic Genetics Policy Initiative (www.dnapolicyinitiative.org) is a civil society-led project which aims to set human rights standards for DNA databases around the world, by establishing best practice and involving experts, policy makers and members of the public in open debate. The authors have collected a comprehensive data set of information on the state of forensic DNA profiling and the development of DNA databases for policing purposes in more than 100 countries. The information is available in wiki which can be expanded, updated or corrected by interested persons (http://wiki.dnapolicyinitiative.org).

Results

A summary of the current global situation and issues for debate highlights: (1) a growing global consensus on the need for legislative provisions for the destruction of biological samples and deletion of innocent people’s DNA profiles, following the European Court of Human Rights’ judgement on this issue in 2008; (2) emerging best practice on scientific standards and standards for the use of DNA in court which are necessary to prevent miscarriages of justice; (3) ongoing debate regarding the appropriate safeguards for DNA collection from suspects; restrictions on access, use and data sharing across borders; and data protection standards.

Conclusion

There is an ongoing need for greater public and policy debate as DNA databases expand around the world. Some safeguards are implemented at the national or regional level but there is an ongoing lack of global standards and a need for more societal engagement and debate.

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Forensic informatics enabling forensic intelligence

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Troy O’Malley Published online: 03 Jun 2014

The utility of forensic informatics gained momentum in Queensland over a decade ago and was instrumental in identifying leakage points in forensic performance, the removal of backlogs and the provision of real-time feedback to forensic practitioners and investigating police. This paper provides insight into the evolution of forensic practice in Queensland, highlighting both the organisational challenges and the information system architecture, which established workflows tailored to the timely production of forensic intelligence to reduce, disrupt and prevent crime.

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