Forensic Science Policy & Management: An International Journal Volume 3, Issue 4, 2012; DOI:10.1080/19409044.2013.844214
An examination of the budgets of forensic laboratories reveals an unused or underused tool at the disposal of forensic laboratories. Equipment leasing offers an opportunity for a unilateral increase in the purchasing power of existing laboratory budgets and an immediate response to austerity measures. Rather than react to budget tightening with reductions in force, shared furloughs, or the forfeiture of unfilled positions, a laboratory director can forestall such measures and even see an effective increase in disposable income through a planned use of operating leases. If a public laboratory makes an equipment purchase, the cost to the laboratory will be the full list price from the equipment supplier. However, when a private laboratory makes the same equipment purchase, it pays the supplier the full list price, but is able to deduct the expense from its income when it calculates its corporate income tax and ends up with a final expense, net of taxes, that is considerably less than the cost to the public laboratory. Leasing offers the opportunity for a private entity to purchase equipment and pass on some of the tax savings to the public laboratory through an operating lease. In this manuscript the leasing gains are explained and accompanied by a detailed example to illustrate the potential magnitudes of the gains. In this example, a representative laboratory is shown to experience nearly a twenty-five percent gain from the lease compared to the expense of a direct purchase.
View the fulltext (QH staff only)
International Journal of Legal Medicine October 2013
Literature describes multiple possible links between genetic variations in the neuroadrenergic system and the occurrence of sudden infant death syndrome. The X-chromosomal Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) is one of the genes with regulatory activity in the noradrenergic and serotonergic neuronal systems and a polymorphism of the promoter which affects the activity of this gene has been proclaimed to contribute significantly to the prevalence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in three studies from 2009, 2012 and 2013. However, these studies described different significant correlations regarding gender or age of children. Since several studies, suggesting associations between genetic variations and SIDS, were disproved by follow-up analysis, this study was conducted to take a closer look at the MAOA gene and its polymorphisms. The functional MAOA promoter length polymorphism was investigated in 261 SIDS cases and 93 control subjects. Moreover, the allele distribution of 12 coding and non-coding single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the MAOA gene was examined in 285 SIDS cases and 93 controls by a minisequencing technique. In contrast to prior studies with fewer individuals, no significant correlations between the occurrence of SIDS and the frequency of allele variants of the promoter polymorphism could be demonstrated, even including the results from the abovementioned previous studies. Regarding the SNPs, three statistically significant associations were observed which had not been described before. This study clearly disproves interactions between MAOA promoter polymorphisms and SIDS, even if variations in single nucleotide polymorphisms of MAOA should be subjected to further analysis to clarify their impact on SIDS.
View the fulltext (QH staff only)
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Published online: 29 Oct 2013
In this paper, the variability of peak heights for mixed DNA profiles separated on two different models of a capillary electrophoresis instrument is examined. The Applied Biosystems 3500xl instrument produces larger peaks than the 3130xl instrument. If the relative difference in peak heights between the two instruments was a constant factor then all relative heights should be preserved. However, if that factor differed, say, for small versus large peaks then relative heights would change. The effect of peak height and dye on the relative difference in peak height between injections of the same amplicon on a 3500xl and 3130xl instrument for a series of mixed DNA profiles using the Promega PowerPlex 21 multiplex is described. The ratio of peak heights between instrument models resulted in values up to four times higher on the 3500 compared with the 3130. The magnitude of this difference was shown to be dependent on the dye but not on the peak heights themselves. Relative parameters stutter, heterozygote balance, and mixture proportion were very similar between the two instrument models, indicating that the interpretation guidelines developed on one machine are likely to be transportable to different capillary electrophoresis instrument models and different machines of the same model.
View the fulltext (QH staff only)
A. S. Matai, T. Sijen, Forensic Science International: Genetics, In press 29 October 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fsigss.2013.10.145
Since October 2010, the NFI offers a “DNA-6 hours” service to the Dutch police aiming to provide early investigative leads. Within the DNA-6 hours procedure DNA information is rapidly derived from an evidentiary trace, the STR profile is searched against the DNA profiles of known persons in the DNA database and a brief report containing information about match or no match is given to prosecution. Here, the STR system used in the direct and rapid amplification procedure is upgraded from 11 to 16 loci to comply with current profiling data comprising the new European standard set of loci. In addition, a brief DNA extraction procedure is introduced that can be applied to tape-lifts taken from cigarette butts or punches excised from licked envelope seals to increase success rates for these sample types.
Request a copy of this article (QH staff ONLY)
Science Technology Human Values July 2013vol. 38 no. 4 542-565; doi:10.1177/0162243912453623
The social and legal implications of forensic DNA are paramount. For this reason, forensic DNA enjoys ample attention from legal, bioethics, and science and technology studies scholars. This article contributes to the scholarship by focusing on the neglected issue of sameness. We investigate a forensic courtroom case which started in the early ’90s and focus on three modes of making similarities: (1) creating equality before the law, (2) making identity, and (3) establishing standards. We argue that equality before the law is not merely a principle but a practice. In the context of DNA research,equality refers to using standardized technology and procedures to identifythe criminal suspect. Our case shows the work at stake in introducing a new technology into the courtroom and serves as a lens, magnifying how contingencies and uncertainties are managed and ordered in everyday court practices to arrive at an equal treatment of the suspect.
Request a copy of the article (QH Staff only)
Ken Obenson, Forensic Science Medicine and Pathology, 23 August 2013 DOI 10.1007/s12024-013-9486-7
Many forensic pathology practices utilize practice space and data storage facilities and staff that are exclusive to the service. However there are many others that operate in tandem with hospital services particularly in smaller
communities that cannot afford to invest in and maintain a free standing service. In this scenario, the autopsies are performed in the same facilities by the same staff and the histology and toxicology services are also often shared.
The reports may be transcribed by staff members who also transcribe other hospital reports. Consequently these hybrid systems potentially increase the risk of unauthorized forensic data disclosures with far reaching negative consequences.
View the full text (QH staff only)
*Please contact us if you have trouble accessing this document*
Curran, James M (2013). Science & Justice. DOI:10.1016/j.scijus.2013.07.001
This editorial is based on a talk that I gave at the 6th European Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting where I attempted to encourage debate, reflection, and possibly change. Nothing I have written here is aimed at any one person. Over the last 15 years I have been involved in forensic research, education, and practice. This has given me considerable opportunities to see how the fruits of mine and my peers’ research has affected, or changed, the way forensic scientists study, interpret, and present evidence. It is, therefore, rather disheartening to say that the impact appears to be low to negligible. I will briefly discuss my findings in three different fields with which I have had some interaction. These are: fingerprints; glass; and DNA.
Request a copy of this article (QH staff only)
Howlett, S. E. (2013). Forensic Science International: Genetics. Online 19 September 2013 DOI:10.1016/j.fsigen.2013.09.003
Preserving DNA is important for validation of prospective and retrospective analyses, requiring many expensive types of equipment (e.g., freezers and back-up generators) and energy. While freezing is the most common method for storing extracted DNA evidence or well-characterized DNA samples for validation studies, DNAstable™ (Biomatrica®), a commercially available medium for room temperature storage of DNA extracts was evaluated in this study. Two groups of samples consisting of different DNA quantities were investigated, one ranging from 20 to 400 ng (group 1) and the other one ranging from 1.4 to 20 ng (group 2). The DNA samples with and without DNAstable™ were stored at four different temperatures [∼ 25° C (room temperature), - 20° C, 37° C or 50° C]. DNA degradation over several months was monitored by SYBR® Green-based qPCR assays and by PCR amplification of the core CODIS STR markers for group 1 and 2 DNA samples, respectively. For the time points tested in this study (up to 365 days), the findings indicate that the – 20° C controls and the DNAstable™ protected samples at room temperature provided similar DNA recoveries that were higher compared to the unprotected controls kept at RT, 37° C or 50° C. These results suggest that DNAstable™ can protect DNA samples with effectiveness similar to that of the traditional – 20° C freezing method. In addition, extrapolations from accelerated aging experiments conducted at high temperatures support that DNAstable™ is an effective technology for preserving purified DNA at room temperature with a larger protective impact on DNA samples of low quantity (< 20 ng)
Click here to view full text (QH staff only)
Enter the Library username and password at the login window (top right of screen). Contact the library if you require assistance.