Category Archives: Forensic DNA

Journal articles relating to forensic DNA including disaster victim identification.

FBI errors throw forensic convictions into question

New Scientist No 2981 6 August 2014

The FBI has admitted that its scientists may have made erroneous statements in thousands of criminal cases involving hair analysis

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Nondestructive Methods for Recovery of Biological Material from Human Teeth for DNA Extraction

Journal of Forensic Sciences 22 JUL 2014

The extraction of DNA from human skeletal remains applied to forensic, and evolutionary studies do not exclude risks, which are to be evaluated when working with unique specimens that could be damaged or even destroyed. In the present study were evaluated several nondestructive methods for recovering DNA instead of the most currently used pulverization method. Three different procedures to access inside the dental pieces (occlusal perforation, cervical perforation, and cervical cut) have been compared with the aim of recovering as many cell remains as possible to carry out a DNA extraction. Given the DNA quantitation results, a method was proposed that consists of a cervical cut to facilitate the access to the pulp cavity and a subsequent filing of the root canals down to the apex of the dental root. This methodology allows the recovery of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, with the minimum deterioration for the dental pieces.

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Elimination of Bioweapons Agents from Forensic Samples During Extraction of Human DNA

Journal of Forensic Sciences 28 JUL 2014

Collection of DNA for genetic profiling is a powerful means for the identification of individuals responsible for crimes and terrorist acts. Biologic hazards, such as bacteria, endospores, toxins, and viruses, could contaminate sites of terrorist activities and thus could be present in samples collected for profiling. The fate of these hazards during DNA isolation has not been thoroughly examined. Our goals were to determine whether the DNA extraction process used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police eliminates or neutralizes these agents and if not, to establish methods that render samples safe without compromising the human DNA. Our results show that bacteria, viruses, and toxins were reduced to undetectable levels during DNA extraction, but endospores remained viable. Filtration of samples after DNA isolation eliminated viable spores from the samples but left DNA intact. We also demonstrated that contamination of samples with some bacteria, endospores, and toxins for longer than 1 h compromised the ability to complete genetic profiling.

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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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