Category Archives: Forensic DNA

Journal articles relating to forensic DNA including disaster victim identification.

Development of a Lean Facility Design Roadmap for Design-Bid-Build Forensic Facilities

National Institute of Justice | Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) January 2016;  38 pp

In 2013, NIST published an update to its widely acclaimed Forensic Science Laboratories: Handbook for Facility Planning, Design, Construction and Relocation.  A detailed review revealed that, despite its guidance on integrating the latest scientific developments, efficiency improvements, and sustainability practices in building forensic facilities, it contains few references to Lean  Design.  In an effort to incorporate Lean Design thinking into the planning, construction, and relocation of forensic facilities, the National Institute of Justice’s FTCoE initiated a project to develop guidelines and checklists for Lean Facility Design (LFD). This document reports on the development of these LFD guidelines and checklists and their integration.

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When DNA Implicates the Innocent

Scientific American 314, 11 – 12 (2016)
Published online: 17 May 2016 | doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0616-11

As with other forensic evidence, confidence in DNA is eroding.

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The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology June 2016, Volume 37, Issue 2

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Positional Asphyxia: Death Due to Unusual Head-Down Position in a Narrow Space. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):51-53, June 2016

Sudden Death Due to Undiagnosed Wilkie Syndrome. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):54-56, June 2016

Colchicine-Induced Rhabdomyolysis: An Autopsy Case. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):57-59, June 2016

Sudden Death Due to Cerebral Leukemic Hemorrhage in a 32-Year-Old Woman Who Had a Short-Term Benzene Exposure History. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):60-63, June 2016

Hyperdensity of the Basilar Artery on Postmortem CT: A Potential Indicator for Basilar Artery Thrombosis. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):64-66, June 2016

Infantile Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Its Probable Links With Parameters of the Maternal Patient History: A Forensic Case Report. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):67-69, June 2016

Sexual Activity as a Risk Factor for the Spontaneous Rupture of Cerebral Aneurysms. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):70-73, June 2016

Lethal Dengue Virus Infection: A Forensic Overview. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):74-78, June 2016

Disguising a Suicide as a Homicide: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Hans Gross, and “The Problem of Thor Bridge”. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):79, June 2016

Fatal Falls in New York City: An Autopsy Analysis of Injury Patterns. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):80-85, June 2016

Establishing Standards for Side-by-Side Radiographic Comparisons. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):86-94, June 2016

Intravenous Heroin Abuse and Acute Myocardial Infarction: Forensic Study. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):95-98, June 2016

Analysis of Short Tandem Repeat and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Loci From Single-Source Samples Using a Custom HaloPlex Target Enrichment System Panel. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):99-107, June 2016

Immersion of Bovine Eyeballs After 1 Hour in Seawater Does Not Result in Elevation of Postmortem Vitreous Humor Sodium and Chloride Levels. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):108-111, June 2016

Applying the Principles of Homicide by Heart Attack. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):112-117, June 2016

Histological Changes in Skeletal Muscle During Death by Drowning: An Experimental Study. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):118-126, June 2016

The Islamic Approach to Modern Forensic and Legal Medicine Issues. American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. 37(2):127-131, June 2016

Leadership Decisions Influencing Medicolegal Death Investigation: “We wear a lot of hats.”

Forensic Science Policy & Management: An International Journal
Volume 7, Issue 3-4, 2016 pages 51-57 [Published online: 06 Apr 2016]

Leaders of medicolegal death investigation agencies face leadership and management challenges. To develop a deeper understanding of how they approach these challenges in the context of the community they serve we explored their lived experiences through semi structured telephone interviews about the essential services of their agency. Qualitative interviews of 12 leaders were transcribed and reviewers identified major themes through multiple readings. The themes included: Responsibilities of Agencies, Interdisciplinary Relationships, Variations in Practice, Recruitment of Agency Personnel, Leaders Qualifications and Certification of Personnel, Training of Personnel, and Quality Improvement/Quality Assurance. The factors affecting agency leaders are complex ranging from the hiring of agency personnel to running and overseeing all aspects of death investigations. There are resources such as leadership training and mentoring needed to improve the oversight and quality of death investigation agencies in the United States.

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Providing scientific guidance on DNA to the judiciary

Science & Justice Available online 4 May 2016

A series of short documents have been written in response to a request from the UK Judiciary for explanations of research that was commissioned in response to questions they had raised. These related principally to the potential impact of primer binding site mutation (PBSM) but it became clear at an early stage that it was necessary to explain related issues. The three scientific guidance papers (SGPs) that have been prepared thus far are presented in their entirety so that UK scientists may be aware of what has been presented to judges.
Suggestions for further work, including possible communication to jurors are discussed.

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Developing tailored planning models for forensic organisations

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Published online: 12 Apr 2016

Forensic laboratories traditionally focus on the development of scientific excellence to gain and maintain expertise and capability for their core purpose with respect to the provision of sound, impartial analysis of potential evidence, while managing increasingly tight budgets and growing demand. One downside to this primary focus is the lower prioritisation afforded to strategic and operational planning, despite its potential to substantially improve service delivery and enhance efficiency. Here, we focus on traditional planning models used by forensic laboratories and their shortfalls, and we examine options for improvement. Contemporary planning methodologies are assessed for their applicability and one improved planning model is developed and its potential benefits are evaluated.

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Model forensic science

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Published online: 05 Apr 2016

This article provides an explanation of the duties and responsibilities owed by forensic practitioners (and other expert witnesses) when preparing for and presenting evidence in criminal proceedings. It is written in the shadow of reports by the National Academy of Sciences (US), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (US), the Scottish Fingerprint Inquiry and a recent publication entitled ‘How to cross-examine forensic scientists: A guide for Lawyers’. The article examines potential responses to questions focused on the need for scientific research, validation, uncertainties, limitations and error, contextual bias and the way expert opinions are expressed in reports and oral testimony. Responses and the discussion is developed around thematics such as disclosure, transparency, epistemic modesty and impartiality derived from modern admissibility and procedure rules, codes of conduct, ethical and professional responsibilities and employment contracts. The article explains why forensic practitioners must respond to the rules and expectations of adversarial legal institutions. Simultaneously, in line with accusatorial principles, it suggests that forensic practitioners employed by the state ought to conduct themselves as model forensic scientists.

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