Category Archives: Forensic DNA

Journal articles relating to forensic DNA including disaster victim identification.

New CLSI document – C62-A Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

C62-A: Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Methods; Approved Guideline (October 2014)

This document provides guidance to the clinical laboratorian for the reduction of interlaboratory variance and the evaluation of interferences, assay performance, and other pertinent characteristics of clinical assays. This guideline emphasizes particular areas related to assay development and presents a standardized approach for method verification that is specific to mass spectrometry technology.

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American Forensic Roundtable: Progress, Status, and the Future

Forensic Science Policy & Management: An International Journal Vol. 5(3-4), 2014 pp. 1-19 Published online: 02 Oct 2014

In February 2014, a group of forensic experts was convened to discuss current topics in the profession. The topics ranged from progress since the National Research Council report in 2009, to education and training, certification, research, and other professional issues, including ethics. This transcript, which represents the dynamic interaction of the participants, has been edited for clarity and length.

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Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology – Volume 10, Issue 3, September 2014

Complete Table of Contents | Vol 10 no 3 | September 2014

Selected articles:

An evaluation of two conducted electrical weapons using a swine comparative cardiac safety model

Early evidence kits in sexual assault: an observational study of spermatozoa detection in urine and other forensic specimens

The role of histopathology in forensic practice: an overview [Review]

Homicide or suicide? Xylophagia: a possible explanation for extraordinary autopsy findings

Thoracolithiasis: a unique autopsy finding

Improved Tools for the Robust Analysis of Low Copy Number and Challenged DNA Samples

ForensicCONNECT 29 September 2014

Low copy number (LCN) typing is a general technique used for analyzing low-quantity DNA samples. Short tandem repeat (STR) testing on aged and extremely limited samples, such as “touch DNA” samples, has increased over the past decade. Samples with low quantities of template DNA are typically subjected to exaggerated stochastic effects during the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that impact the reproducibility and reliability of DNA typing results.

Download PhD Thesis by Pamela L Marshall (226 pp)

Push for Royal Commission into forensic procedures

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Vol. 46, Issue 4, 2014 James Robertson pp. 365-367

The Canberra Times  reports that Dr Bob Moles, Coordinator, Networked Knowledge, has told them that ‘A Royal Commission should be held into the forensic procedures that have been operating in Australia for the past 20 years in light of the inquiry findings into the murder conviction of David Harold Eastman’.
Dr Moles likened errors in the Eastman case to the Splatt and Chamberlain cases from the 1980s and is quoted as saying ‘Forensic evidence experts told the royal commission that every piece of evidence was flawed.’ It is not entirely clear if Dr Moles was referring in this statement to the Splatt and/or the Chamberlain case. As I was one of the ‘forensic evidence experts’ who assisted the Royal Commission into the conviction of Splatt, his statement is unhelpful and a gross oversimplification.
Notwithstanding, and regrettably, the Report to the Board of Inquiry into the conviction of David Harold Eastman for the murder of Colin Stanley Winchester does not make pleasant reading from a forensic viewpoint.

New Genetics and Society Vol 33 no 3 Sep 2014 – Special Issue – Genetic Identification and the Response to Mass Fatalities


Approaching disaster victim identification [Editorial]

This special issue is a response to a discussion concerning the role of DNA technology in the identification of bodies found following bush fires in Victoria in 2009.

Who knows who we are? Questioning DNA analysis in disaster victim identification

Identity, mass fatality and forensic genetics

Hidden in full sight: kinship, science and the law in the aftermath of the Srebrenica genocide

Ethical considerations in the use of DNA as a contribution toward the determination of identification in historic cases: considerations from the Western front

Naming the dead: DNA-based identification of historical remains as an act of care

Death duty – caring for the dead in the context of disaster

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Collecting and Analyzing DNA Evidence from Fingernails: A Comparative Study

Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume 59, Issue 5, pages 1343–1350, September 2014

Forensic practitioners and crime laboratories regularly collect and analyze fingernail evidence; however, the best techniques for processing such evidence have not been established. In this study, numerous aspects of fingernail evidence processing—collection of exogenous cells, transportation, purification of DNA, and STR analysis—were analyzed using fingernails harboring applied blood or epithelial cells from scratchings. Autosomal STR mixtures resulted when fingernails were soaked or swabbed, while scrapings rarely generated mixtures but exhibited allelic dropout. Y-STRs yielded single source profiles, with scrapings again showing dropout. A silica-based kit extraction recovered significantly more exogenous DNA than did organic extraction, neither of which was affected by nail polish. Swabbing nails in succession resulted in some cross-contamination from exogenous material, while transporting nails together did not, although there was loss of exogenous cells. Optimized nail processing produced complete Y-STR profiles of male volunteers from female fingernails following scratchings.

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