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Science & Justice
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.033
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 413  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1355-0306
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3162 journals]
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 6Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 6Author(s):
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 6Author(s):
  • Strategic choice in linear sequential unmasking
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Roger Koppl
  • Microwave-assisted extraction and differential scanning calorimetry in the
           chemical identification of sliming agents apprehended in the south region
           of Brazil
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 November 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Samantha C. de Freitas, Marco A.Z. dos Santos, Lucas M. Berneira, Rafael S. Ortiz, Claudio M.P. de Pereira Over the past decades, consume of slimming agents considerably increased in several countries, including Brazil, due to weight-loss and stimulant properties. Since these drugs are controlled to prevent illicit and indiscriminate use, there is a parallel illegal market that uses the Internet and irregular pharmacies in order to distribute these formulations. Slimming agents produced by these illegal sources are known for being manufactured with little or none quality control resulting in uncertain and unknown formulations. For forensic purposes, apprehended pharmaceuticals have to undergo a process of chemical identification that can be difficult due to its complex matrix. In this sense, application of assisted energies in the extraction step such as microwave irradiation can be a promising method to increase the recuperation of the target molecules of the sample. Therefore, the aim of this research was to identify four slimming agents apprehended in Brazil by means of visual inspection, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry. Moreover, the efficiency of solid-liquid extraction and microwave-assisted extraction was compared. It should be noted that our work was one of the few to use Differential Scanning Calorimetry and the application of microwave irradiation in the analysis of apprehended materials. Results showed that the majority of the samples was counterfeit being composed of one or several adulterants or contaminants. Initially, visual inspection resourcefully screened the slimming agents for possible signs of falsification, however it failed to detect fraudulent products that were very similar to veridical medicines. Sequentially, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy detected functional groups present in the samples while the presence or absence of the alleged active ingredients were successfully measured with Differential Scanning Calorimetry and, thus, providing a full chemical screening of the apprehended materials. Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry confirmed the presence of adulterants such as caffeine, fluoxetine and phenolphthalein as well as contaminants such as sulfurol in the falsified samples. Finally, comparison of extraction procedures indicated that microwave-assisted extraction increased the recovery of compounds detected in chromatographic analysis to a greater extent than solid-liquid extraction.
  • Forensic anthropology in the global investigation of humanitarian and
           human rights abuse: Perspective from the published record
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Douglas H. Ubelaker, Austin Shamlou, Amanda E. Kunkle Forensic anthropologists have played key roles in the historical development of forensic science applications to global humanitarian and human rights issues. These anthropological initiatives can be traced back to the Smithsonian seminar organized by T. D. Stewart in 1968 and published in 1970. Key developments include the 1984 delegation sent by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to Argentina and the formation of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team. Subsequent highlights include major anthropological involvement in support of investigations by international criminal tribunals, formation of forensic anthropology teams in different countries and activities of the International Commission of Missing Persons and the forensic unit of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Recent developments feature the formation of the Humanitarian and Human Rights Resource Center of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and its support of worthwhile projects in many countries. The published record provides historical perspective on these developments.
  • The importance of dark adaptation for forensic examinations; an evaluation
           of the Crime-lite Eye™
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Beth McMurchie, Roberto S.P. King, Paul F. Kelly, George E. Torrens Forensic practitioners are recommended to dark adapt their eyes prior to conducting evidential searches in the dark. The dark adaptation process remains poorly standardised across the discipline, with little quantified regarding the benefits of such preparative steps. Herein, we report the findings of a study that recruited 50 participants to assess the effectiveness of the Crime-lite Eye™, a darkness adaptation device developed to assist forensic practitioners both in the laboratory and in field. Participants were tasked with searching for the fluorescent signatures left by reaction of 1,8-diazafluoren-9-one (DFO) with amino acids, in a manner akin to the fluorogenic fingerprint treatment of porous evidence. Using an Epson Stylus Photo R265 inkjet printer, ink cartridges were filled with alanine solutions of various concentrations, allowing different motifs to be printed onto copy paper and subsequently developed using DFO. Participants searched for this ‘evidence’ both with and without dark adapted vision. On average, participants were able to locate and correctly recognise 16% more evidence once dark adapted using the Crime-lite Eye™.The increase in evidence located by participants once dark adapted suggests that crime scene officers should be dark adapting in order to visualise as much as possible. The time taken to dark adapt, 10 min on average during this study, is not excessively long, and should not significantly slow the investigation.
  • Editorial–science and justice 58(6)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Lisa Smith
  • Australian forensic textile damage examinations – Finding a way
           forward since PCAST
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Kate Sloan, Macarthur Fergusson, James Robertson Textile damage examinations are requested in a range of crime types such as assault, sexual assault and homicide. They typically involve the examination of clothing for damage such as cut, tear or thermal damage, often then followed by experimental scenario testing to help ascertain the cause of the damage. Understanding the underpinning science is central to the accurate interpretation of the complex mechanism of damage formation. In a stabbing incident for example, an understanding of the dynamic relationship between the knife blade, fabric and skin (or skin simulant) is critical.Recent reports, including the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report, have scrutinised forensic feature-based comparison techniques. Whilst textile damage was not a focus area, it can be considered a feature-based evidence class, and one which is currently largely reliant upon a practitioner's opinion, experience and professional judgement.This paper will review the current state of textile damage examinations in Australia and survey research being conducted to address the issues raised in the context of the PCAST report. The central contribution of observational data to the evidence class of textile damage will also be explored, as well as some practical measures to counter the effects of cognitive bias.
  • Visualising the past – An evaluation of processes and sequences for
           fingermark recovery from old documents
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): S. Bleay, L. Fitzgerald, V. Sears, T. Kent This study aimed to collect data on the effectiveness of most of the fingermark visualisation reagents currently used on porous surfaces on fingermarks aged for up to 90 years, significantly extending the timescales for which such information exists. A limited subset of the variables associated with processing of old fingermarks was explored, with a focus on the use of 1,8 diazafluoren-9-one (DFO), 1,2-indandione, ninhydrin, and physical developer. These techniques were used in sequence on batches of cheques between 11 and 32 years old, and on documents dating from the 1920s and 1940s. The potential for applying a physical developer enhancement process (blue toning) as the final step in the sequence was also explored. The benefits of using processing sequences on porous items were clearly demonstrated, with all processes in the sequence adding value in terms of additional marks found on the cheques up to 32 years old. In addition, physical developer was found to be capable of developing fingermarks up to 90 years old, whereas the amino acid reagents appear less effective on documents of 70 years and older. An experimental physical developer formulation with reduced environmental impact was found to be as effective as the existing process in these experiments. Blue toning was found to visualise an additional 10–25% of marks, and its wider use after silver-based deposition processes is recommended based on the evidence from this study.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Identification of an exhumed corpse by DNA extraction from bulb swab. A
           disputed parentage case report
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Rocchi Anna, Presciuttini Silvano, Chiti Enrica, Pierotti Simone, Spinetti Isabella
  • Resolving differing expert opinions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Isabelle Montani, Raymond Marquis, Nicole Egli Anthonioz, Christophe Champod This paper explores procedural mechanisms to resolve differing conclusions when two experts have initially worked independently. These experts can be two human examiners or one of them may be a computer-based model. The resolving process is presented as part of the ACE-V protocol adopted widely in pattern recognition areas (e.g. fingerprints, footwear marks, toolmarks or handwritings/signatures comparisons). It set the conditions of operations and delineates a resolving process that is based on the principles of transparency and detailed argumentations. We predict a gradual but steady introduction of computer-based models in the forensic pattern recognition areas. In our opinion, the rules to resolve differing opinions ought to be articulated and documented in the form of standard operating procedures, before any deployment in casework practice.
  • Targeting relevant sampling areas for human biological traces: Where to
           sample displaced bodies for offender DNA'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Matthijs Zuidberg, Matthijs Bettman, Bart Aarts, Marjan Sjerps, Bas Kokshoorn Sampling strategy is one of the deciding factors in DNA typing success rates. Small amounts of bodily fluid traces and (skin) contact traces are currently not visualized in standard forensic practice. Trace recovery is usually based on the information available in a particular case and on the experience and ‘forensic common sense’ applied by the trace recovery expert. Interactions between an offender and a victim may have characteristic features, resulting in specific trace patterns. Understanding these interactions, and their resulting trace patterns, might improve crime related trace recovery as well as DNA typing success rates.In this study, we examined the interactions between offender and victim when a body has been relocated from one position/location to another. The contact between the hands of the offender and the body of the victim was visualized using a fluorescent dye in a lotion that was applied to the hands of the individual undertaking the relocation. The contact locations were scored and patterns were analyzed based on both victim and offender characteristics (height, weight, age, gender). The resulting patterns were compared to current trace recovery practices in the Netherlands. The results of this large-scale study facilitate evidence-based sampling supporting both investigative and evaluative forensic examinations.
  • Publication of the second edition of the FIRMS good practice guide for
           isotope ratio mass spectrometry
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 October 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Philip J.H. Dunn, James F. Carter
  • Environmental effects on magnetic fluorescent powder development of
           fingermarks on bird of prey feathers
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): H. McMorris, K. Sturrock, D. Gentles, B.J. Jones, K.J. Farrugia A comparison study of the effects of environmental conditions on the development of latent fingermarks on raptor feathers using green magnetic fluorescent powder was undertaken using both sebaceous loaded and natural fingermark deposits. Sparrowhawk feathers were stored in indoor conditions for 60 days (Study 1), and buzzard feathers were left exposed to two different environmental conditions (hidden and visible) for 21 days (Study 2), with developments made at regular ageing periods. In Study 1, latent fingermarks were successfully developed (Grade 1–4) on the indoor feathers up to 60 days after deposition – 98.6% of the loaded deposits and 85.3% for natural deposits. Under outdoor conditions in Study 2, both loaded and natural deposits were affected by environmental exposure. Latent fingermarks were successfully developed up to 14 days after deposition on the outdoor feathers, with some occasional recovery after 21 days. The visible feathers recorded 34.7% (loaded) and 16.4% (natural) successful developments (Grade 1–4), whereas the hidden feathers recorded 46.7% (loaded) and 22.2% (natural) successful developments, suggesting that protection from the environment helps to preserve latent fingermarks on the surface of a feather. Environmental exposure accelerated the deterioration of ridge detail and the number of successful developments.
  • A review of quality procedures in the UK forensic sciences: What can the
           field of digital forensics learn'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Page Helen, Horsman Graeme, Sarna Anna, Foster Julienne With a reliance on the various forms of forensic science evidence in complex criminal investigations, the measures for ensuring its quality are facing increasing scrutiny. Improvements to quality management systems, to ensure both the robust application of scientific principles and the accurate interpretation and reporting of results, have arisen as a consequence of high-profile rebuttals of forensic science evidence, combined with process improvements driven by evaluation of current practice. These improvements are crucial to ensure validity of results as well as providing assurance for all those involved in the Criminal Justice System. This work first examines the quality management systems utilised for the examination and analysis of fingerprint, body fluid and DNA evidence. It then proceeds to highlight an apparent lack of comparable quality assurance mechanisms within the field of digital forensics, one of the newest branches of forensic science. Proposals are provided for the improvement of quality assurance for the digital forensics arena, drawing on the experiences of, and more well-established practices within, other forensic disciplines.
  • A forensic visual aid: Traces versus knowledge
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Harm van Beek In this paper, I introduce the Forensic Field Map (FFM) that provides a two-dimensional view on the forensic field. This field is by definition very broad, encompassing a wide range of scientific areas and activities. The forensic work that supports solving criminal cases ranges from recognizing and preserving traces at crime scenes to explaining forensic results as expert witness in court. This goes hand in hand with the development of scientifically based methods and tooling as well as legal, forensic and laboratory procedures. Although the FFM came into being while developing a (visual) framework for digital forensic investigations, the framework turned out to be generically applicable to other forensic disciplines.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Evaluation of postmortem biochemical markers: Completeness of data and
           assessment of implication in the field
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Joris Meurs, Tristan Krap, Wilma Duijst Throughout the years an increase has been observed in research output on biochemical markers for determining the postmortem interval (PMI). However, to date, a complete overview is missing on the results of postmortem biochemical markers (PBM's) for PMI estimation. In this paper, literature was reviewed in order to identify the knowledge lacunae of PBM research from a practical point of view. A three-step approach was undertaken in order to achieve the set goal. Literature was collected, the PBM's were evaluated for completeness by means of a scorings index based on set criteria, and PBM's were subsequently evaluated in light of the Daubert & Frye criteria for scientific evidence in court. Seven PBM's were found to be well investigated, from which potassium had the highest completion score. However, none of these PBM's could be qualified as suitable for court evidence. Further, this study revealed that the majority of PBM's (94%) is not well investigated. Consequently, these PBM's did not meet Daubert & Frye criteria. In order to improve the assessment for use of PBM's as evidence in court regarding PMI estimation, PBM's should be investigated more thoroughly and data should be made readily available.
  • IFC: Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 5Author(s):
  • BM1: Events Guide
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 5Author(s):
  • BM2: Council Information
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2018Source: Science & Justice, Volume 58, Issue 5Author(s):
  • Comparison of four DNA extraction methods to extract DNA from cigarette
           butts collected from Lebanese crime scenes
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Hany Kallassy, Louis Y. El Khoury, Madona Eid, Milad Chalhoub, Issam Mansour Cigarette butts collected from crime scenes represent valuable sources of DNA. However the extraction of the genetic material may deem challenging especially when different contaminants may compromise the integrity, quality, and quantity of DNA obtained. This study aims at comparing four extraction methods (Chelex-100, soaking + Chelex-100, Chelex-100 + PK, and DNA IQ™ System) with the intention of identifying the one with maximal recovery rate and profiling success. DNA was extracted using aforementioned four methods from 70 cigarette butts collected from crime scenes in Lebanon. DNA was quantified by qPCR using TaqMan Quantifiler Kit on an Applied Biosystems 7300 SDS instrument and genotypes were obtained using the PowerPlex® 21 kit on an Applied Biosystems 3130 Genetic Analyser. The findings of this work showed that DNA extraction with Chelex-100 + PK is preferred to the other three methods when seeking both, a high yield and the generation of maximal numbers of full profiles. The Chelex-100 + PK method is simple, cost effective, and therefore suitable for routine cigarette butts case studies.
  • Two-dimensional metric comparisons between dynamic bare and sock-clad
           footprints for its forensic implications – A pilot study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Michael S. Nirenberg, Elizabeth Ansert, Kewal Krishan, Tanuj Kanchan Footprints may be present at crime scenes as physical evidence. This pilot study compares two-dimensional measurements of bare and sock-clad footprints to determine if significant differences or similarities exist. Dynamic footprints were collected from 30 males and 20 females between the ages of 20 and 61 years old (mean of 28.2 years) using the Identicator Inkless Shoe Print Model LE 25P system. A midgait protocol was employed for obtaining footprints. The fifth and sixth footprint of gait were collected for the right and left foot, respectively, in both sock-clad and barefoot trials. The footprint measurements between sock-clad and bare footprints were compared. The results did not indicate any significant difference (p > .05) between bare and sock-clad foot length measurements for right or left feet. Significant differences were seen for the width measurements between bare and sock-clad footprints. These findings have forensic implications, particularly in criminal cases where it is unclear if a footprint impression is from a sock-clad foot or a bare foot. This study shows that such a determination is generally not necessary when utilizing two-dimensional measurements for length comparison between a bare and sock-clad footprint. However, if width measurements are being evaluated, the determination between bare and sock-clad footprints should be determined.
  • Secondary transfer of organic gunshot residues: Empirical data to assist
           the evaluation of three scenarios
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 September 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Anne-Laure Gassner, Manuela Manganelli, Denis Werner, Damien Rhumorbarbe, Matthieu Maitre, Alison Beavis, Claude P. Roux, Céline Weyermann The present study aimed at providing data to assess the secondary transfer of organic gunshot residues (OGSR). Three scenarios were evaluated in controlled conditions, namely displacing a firearm from point A to point B, a simple handshake and an arrest involving handcuffing on the ground. Specimens were collected from the firearm, the hands of the shooter and the non-shooter undergoing the secondary transfer in order to compare the amounts detected.Secondary transfer was observed for the three scenarios, but to a different extent. It was found that displacing a firearm resulted in secondary transfer in
  • Validity of forensic odontology identification by comparison of
           conventional dental radiographs: A scoping review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Sher-Lin Chiam, Mark Page, Denice Higgins, Jane Taylor
  • Psychedelic fungus (Psilocybe sp.) authentication in a case of illegal
           drug traffic: Sporological, molecular analysis and identification of the
           psychoactive substance
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Jaime Solano, Leonardo Anabalón, Sylvia Figueroa, Cristian Lizama, Luis Chávez Reyes, David Gangitano In nature, there are>200 species of fungi with hallucinogenic properties. These fungi are classified as Psilocybe, Gymnopilus, and Panaeolus which contain active principles with hallucinogenic properties such as ibotenic acid, psilocybin, psilocin, or baeocystin. In Chile, fungi seizures are mainly of mature specimens or spores. However, clandestine laboratories have been found that process fungus samples at the mycelium stage. In this transient stage of growth (mycelium), traditional taxonomic identification is not feasible, making it necessary to develop a new method of study.Currently, DNA analysis is the only reliable method that can be used as an identification tool for the purposes of supporting evidence, due to the high variability of DNA between species. One way to identify the species of a distinctive DNA fragment is to study PCR products analyzed by real time PCR and sequencing. One of the most popular sequencing methods of forensic interest at the generic and intra-generic levels in plants is internal transcribed spacer (ITS). With real time PCR it is possible to distinguish PCR products by differential analysis of their melting temperature (Tm) curves.This paper describes morphological, chemical, and genetic analysis of mycelia of psychedelic fungi collected from a clandestine laboratory. The fungus species were identified using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mass spectrometry, HRM analysis, and ITS sequencing. The sporological studies showed a generally smooth surface and oval shape, with maximum length 10.1 μm and width 6.4 μm. The alkaloid Psilocyn was identified by mass spectrometry, while HRM analysis and ITS sequencing identified the species as Psilocybe cubensis. A genetic match was confirmed between the HRM curves obtained from the mycelia (evidence) and biological tissue extracted from the fruiting bodies. Mycelia recovered from the evidence and fruiting bodies (control) were genetically indistinguishable.
  • Exposing latent fingermarks on problematic metal surfaces using time of
           flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Tshaiya Devi Thandauthapani, Adam J. Reeve, Adam S. Long, Ian J. Turner, James S. Sharp Fingermarks are a key form of physical evidence for identifying persons of interest and linking them to the scene of a crime. Visualising latent (hidden) fingermarks can be difficult and the correct choice of techniques is essential to develop and preserve any fingermarks or other (e.g. DNA) evidence that might be present. Metal surfaces (stainless steel in particular) have proven to be challenging substrates from which to reliably obtain fingermarks. This is a great cause for concern among police forces around the globe as many of the firearms, knives and other metal weapons used in violent crime are potentially valuable sources of fingermark evidence. In this study, a highly sensitive and non-destructive surface science technique called time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) was used to image fingermarks on metal surfaces. This technique was compared to a conventional superglue based fuming technique that was accompanied by a series of contrast enhancing dyes (basic yellow 40 (BY40), crystal violet (CV) and sudan black (SB)) on three different metal surfaces. The conventional techniques showed little to no evidence of fingermarks being present on the metal surfaces after a few days. However, ToF-SIMS revealed fingermarks on the same and similar substrates with an exceptional level of detail. The ToF-SIMS images demonstrated clear ridge definition as well as detail about sweat pore position and shape. All structures were found to persist for over 26 days after deposition when the samples were stored under ambient conditions.
  • Lessons learned from inter-laboratory studies of carbon isotope analysis
           of honey
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Philip J.H. Dunn, Sarah Hill, Simon Cowen, Heidi Goenaga-Infante, Mike Sargent, Ahmet Ceyhan Gören, Mine Bilsel, Adnan Şimşek, Nives Ogrinc, Doris Potočnik, Paul Armishaw, Lu Hai, Leonid Konopelko, Yan Chubchenko, Lesley A. Chesson, Gerard van der Peijl, Cornelia Blaga, Robert Posey, Federica Camin, Anatoly Chernyshev Forensic application of carbon isotope ratio measurements of honey and honey protein to investigate the degree of adulteration with high fructose corn syrup or other C4 plant sugars is well established. These measurements must use methods that exhibit suitable performance criteria, particularly with regard to measurement uncertainty and traceability – low levels of adulteration can only be detected by methods that result in suitably small measurement uncertainties such that differences of 1‰ or less can be reliably detected. Inter-laboratory exercises are invaluable to assess the state-of-the art of measurement capabilities of laboratories necessary to achieve such performance criteria. National and designated metrology institutes from a number of countries recently participated in an inter-laboratory assessment (CCQM-K140) of stable carbon isotope ratio determination of bulk honey. The same sample material was distributed to a number of forensic isotope analysis laboratories that could not participate directly in the metrological comparison. The results from these studies have demonstrated that the majority of participants provided isotope delta values with acceptable performance metrics; that all participants ensured traceability of their results; and that where measurement uncertainties were reported; these were fit-for-purpose. A number of the forensic laboratories only reported precision rather than full estimates of measurement uncertainty and this was the major cause of the few instances of questionable performance metrics. Reporting of standard deviations in place of measurement uncertainties is common practice outside metrology institutes and the implications for interpretations of small differences in isotopic compositions are discussed. The results have also highlighted a number of considerations that are useful for organisers of similar inter-laboratory studies in the future.
  • Preliminary results of an investigation on postmortem variations in human
           skeletal mass of buried bones
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ana Amarante, Maria Teresa Ferreira, Calil Makhoul, Ana Rita Vassalo, Eugénia Cunha, David Gonçalves Extreme fragmentation can complicate the inventory of human skeletal remains. In such cases, skeletal mass can provide information regarding skeleton completeness and the minimum number of individuals. For that purpose, several references for skeletal mass can be used to establish comparisons and draw inferences regarding those parameters. However, little is known about the feasibility of establishing comparisons between inherently different materials, as is the case of curated reference skeletal collections and human remains recovered from forensic and archaeological settings. The objective of this paper was to investigate the effect of inhumation, weather and heat exposure on the skeletal mass of two different bone types. This was investigated on a sample of 30 human bone fragments (14 trabecular bones and 16 compact bones) was experimentally buried for two years after being submitted to one of four different heat treatments (left unburned; 500 °C; 900 °C; 1000 °C). Bones were exhumed periodically to assess time-related mass variation. Skeletal mass varied substantially, decreasing and increasing in accordance to the interchanging dry and wet seasons. However, trends were not the same for the two bone types and the four temperature thresholds. The reason for this appears to be related to water absorption and to the differential heat-induced changes in bone microporosity, volume, and composition. Our results suggest that mass comparisons against published references should be performed only after the skeletal remains have been preemptively dried from exogenous water.
  • Stature estimation from tibia percutaneous length: New equations derived
           from a Mediterranean population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Emanuela Gualdi-Russo, Barbara Bramanti, Natascia Rinaldo Stature is a fundamental anthropometric character to trace the biological profile of a person. In some cases, when dismembered or mutilated bodies are discovered in a forensic context, it is essential to estimate stature from single districts of the body. Nevertheless, to date and worldwide, there are only few population-specific studies on stature estimation from leg length and none of them concerns modern populations in southern Europe. We attempted to fill this gap, focusing on the estimation of stature from the length of the tibia in a Mediterranean population (Italians). We carried out the current study on a sample of 374 Italian university students of both sexes (age range: 19.9–34.4). Both, actual stature and percutaneous length of tibia were measured and new equations were developed for stature estimation. We tested separate regression equations for each sex, as well as an equation for remains, whose sex is unknown. To assess their reliability, the equations were tested on a holdout sample of 30 individuals from the same population. Moreover, results of new specific linear regression equations were compared to others from the literature. We demonstrated that the newly proposed formulae (for males and combined sexes) and the ones by Olivier (for females) provided the most reliable estimations of stature for southern Europeans.
  • Familial DNA searching- an emerging forensic investigative tool
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 August 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Sara Debus-Sherrill, Michael B. Field In recent years, jurisdictions across the United States have expressed a growing interest in aiding criminal investigations through the use of familial DNA searching (FDS)- a forensic technique to identify family members through DNA databases. The National Survey of CODIS Laboratories surveyed U.S. CODIS laboratories about their perceptions, policies, and practices related to FDS. In total, 103 crime labs completed the survey (77% response rate). Labs in 11 states reported using FDS, while labs in 24 states reported using a similar-but distinct- practice of partial matching. Although the majority of labs had positive perceptions about the ability of FDS to assist investigations, labs also reported a number of concerns and challenges with implementing FDS. Respondents reported using either practice a limited amount with modest numbers of convictions resulting from both FDS and partial matching. The article reports on varying practices related to official policies, training, eligibility, the software search, lineage testing, requirements for releasing information, and subsequent investigative work. Finally, the article discusses what can be learned from this survey, accompanying limitations, and implications for decision-makers considering using FDS.
  • Simultaneous detection and image capture of biological evidence using a
           combined 360° camera system with single wavelength laser illumination
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): K. Sheppard, S.J. Fieldhouse, J.P. Cassella Forensic investigators frequently utilise light sources to detect and presumptively identify biological evidence. The instrumentation typically deploys single or multiple wavelength exposures at various intensities, which interact with constituents of biological material, initiating fluorescence or improving contrast between the material and substrate. Documentation using sketches and/or photographic approaches follows detection, which are essential for scene reconstruction. Recent research has demonstrated the simultaneous detection and capture of biological evidence using a 360° camera system combined with an alternate light source exhibiting broad wavelength ranges of light. Single wavelength light sources reportedly offer enhanced sensitivity, due to the increased light intensity and narrower bandwidth of light, although their combined use with a 360° camera system has not yet been explored.Samples of human blood, semen, saliva, and latent fingermarks were deposited on to a variety of substrates. A 360° camera system combined with a laser light source was used to detect and capture the samples. Ten participants were asked to detect the samples on images of the substrates without ground truth knowledge. It was possible to detect and capture biological evidence, although success varied according to substrate colour and light intensity. Advantageously, presumptive screening for biological fluids and the simultaneous location and visualisation of such evidence as part of a 360° panorama of the scene for contextual purposes was permitted. There was no fluorescent response from the fingermarks, although the oblique lighting effects appeared sufficient to aid mark detection in some circumstances. The use of single wavelength illumination clearly facilitates identification of a range of forensically important material. When coupled with a 360-degree camera, this allows for simultaneous identification and recording of such evidence in the context of the whole environment.
  • Isolation and characterisation of a novel sildenafil analogue adulterant,
           desmethylpiperazinyl propoxysildenafil, in a dietary supplement
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Ji Hyun Lee, Han Na Park, Aeran Jung, Suresh Mandava, Seong Soo Park, Jongkook Lee, Hoil Kang A new sildenafil analogue was detected during routine screening of dietary supplements suspected to be adulterated with an erectile dysfunction drug(s) using HPLC-DAD. The UV spectrum of this compound was highly similar to that of sildenafil and almost identical to that of desmethylpiperazinyl sildenafil. The analogue was purified by using semi-preparative HPLC and structurally elucidated by performing mass spectrometric and NMR spectroscopic experiments. The spectral data revealed that this sildenafil analogue bears an n-propoxy group instead of an ethoxy group and possesses no methylpiperazinyl moiety. The isolated compound, structure of which was further confirmed by spectral comparison with synthetic one, was thus named as desmethylpiperazinyl propoxysildenafil.
  • Investigation of infinite focus microscopy for the determination of the
           association of blood with fingermarks
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): L. Deininger, S. Francese, M.R. Clench, G. Langenburg, V. Sears, C. Sammon The determination of the type of deposition mechanism of blood within fingermarks at the scene of violent crimes is of great importance for the reconstruction of the bloodshed dynamics. However, to date, evaluation still relies on the subjective visual examination of experts. Practitioners encounter three types of scenarios in which blood may be found in fingermarks and they refer to the following three deposition mechanisms: (i) blood marks, originating from a bloodied fingertip; (ii) marks in blood, originating from a clean fingertip contacting a blood contaminated surface; (iii) coincidental deposition mechanisms, originating from a clean fingertip contacting a clean surface, leaving a latent fingermark, and subsequent contamination with blood.. The authors hypothesised that, due to differences in distribution of blood in the furrows and on the ridges, the height of blood depositions on the ridges and furrows (and their relative proportions), will differ significantly across the three depositions mechanisms. A second hypothesis was made that the differences would be significant and consistent enough to exploit their measurement as a quantitative and objective way to differentiate the deposition mechanisms.In recent years, infinite focus microscopy (IFM) has been developed, allowing for the computational generation of a 3D image of the topology of a sample via acquisition of images on multiple focal planes. On these bases, it was finally hypothesised that the application of this technique would allow the distinction of deposition mechanisms (i) to (iii) A set of preliminary experiments were designed to test whether IFM was “fit for purpose” and, subsequently, to test if any of the three deposition mechanisms scenarios could be differentiated. Though IFM enabled the analysis of tape lifted samples with some success, for samples produced and analysed directly on the surface of deposition, the results show that the measurements from any scenario will be highly dependent on the original surface of deposition (both in terms of its nature and of the variable exposure to environment); as crime scenes exhibit a wide range of possible relevant surfaces of deposition, the technique showed to not have the desired wide appeal for inclusion into a standardised set of protocols within a routine crime scene workflow.Graphical abstractUnlabelled Image
  • Corrigendum to ‘Questions, propositions and assessing different levels
           of evidence: Forensic voice comparison in practice’
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vincent Hughes, Richard Rhodes
  • Study of the adhesion of explosive residues to the finger and transfer to
           clothing and luggage
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 July 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Heidi Lees, Félix Zapata, Merike Vaher, Carmen García-Ruiz It is important to understand the extent of transfer of explosive particles to different surfaces in order to better evaluate potential cross-contamination by explosives in crowded security controls such as those at airports. This work investigated the transfer of nine explosive residues (ANFO, dynamite, black powder, TNT, HMTD, PETN, NH4NO3, KNO3, NaClO3) through fingerprints from one surface to another. First, the extent of adhesion of explosive residues from different surfaces to the bare finger, nitrile and latex gloves was studied. Then, the transfer of explosive residues from one surface to another through fingerprints was investigated. Cotton fabric (hereinafter referred to as cotton) as clothing material and polycarbonate plastic (hereinafter referred to as polycarbonate) as luggage material were chosen for the experiments. These surfaces containing explosive particles were imaged using a reflex camera before and after the particles were transferred. Afterwards the images were processed in MATLAB where pixels corresponding to explosive residues were quantified. Results demonstrated that transfer of explosive residues frequently occurred with certain differences among materials. Generally, the amount of explosive particles adhered to the finger decreased in the following order: skin>latex>nitrile, while the transfer of particles from the finger to another surface was the opposite. The adhesion of explosive residues from polycarbonate to the finger was found to be better compared to cotton, while the amount of particles transferred to cotton was higher.
  • The effect of mark enhancement techniques on the presumptive and
           confirmatory tests for blood
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 June 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Vanessa Stewart, Paul Deacon, Nathalie Zahra, Mari L. Uchimoto, Kevin J. Farrugia An investigation into the effects of physical and chemical enhancement on subsequent presumptive and confirmatory tests for human blood is presented. Human blood was deposited onto porous (white 80 gsm paper and brown envelope) and non-porous (tile and linoleum) substrates in a depletion series (30 depletions on non-porous and 20 on porous) and subjected to three ageing periods; 1, 7 and 28 days. A number of enhancement techniques were tested [fluorescence, black magnetic powder (BMP), iron-oxide black powder suspension (PS), cyanoacrylate (CA) fuming, acid violet 17 (AV17), acid yellow 7 (AY7), ninhydrin, DFO and Bluestar Forensic Magnum (BFM) luminol] to evaluate their potential effects on subsequent presumptive and confirmatory tests. AV17 and Bluestar provided the best enhancement and fully enhanced all depletions in the series. The sensitivity of the Kastle-Meyer (KM) (presumptive), Takayama and RSID-Blood tests (confirmatory) was initially investigated to determine the range of detectable depletions. The KM test detected all depletions, whereas the Takayama test detected up to depletion 6 and RSID-Blood detected up to depletion 20 (paper), 10 (envelope), 15 (tile) and 9 (lino). The abilities of these tests to detect blood after enhancement were then observed.A number of techniques resulted in little to no effect on any of the blood tests, whereas adverse effects were observed for others. Ninhydrin and CA fuming caused weak but instantaneous positive KM results whereas methanol-based AV17 and AY7 delayed the reaction by as much as 1 min. The Takayama test was not very sensitive, therefore, its performance was easily affected by enhancement and negative results were often observed. RSID-Blood tests were largely unaffected by chemical enhancement although a drop in positive results was observed for some of the techniques when compared to positive controls.Using a standard procedure for DNA extraction, all the tested blood samples (before and after enhancement) gave a detectable quantity of DNA and were successfully profiled. Out of the 45 samples processed for DNA profiling, 41 gave full profiles, while the remaining showed allele drop out in one or two loci.
  • A comparative study of standing fleshed foot and walking and jumping bare
           footprint measurements
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 June 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Nicolas Howsam, Andrew Bridgen Approximating true fleshed foot length and forefoot width from crime scene footprints is primarily based on anecdotal observations and fails to consider effects of different dynamic activities on footprint morphology. A literature search revealed numerous variables influencing footprint formation including whether the print was formed statically or dynamically. The aim of this study was to investigate if length and width measurements of the fleshed foot differ to the same measurements collected from walking and jumping footprints.Measurements of standing right foot length and forefoot width were collected from thirteen participants. Walking and jumping right footprints were then obtained using an Inkless Shoeprint Kit and digitally measured with GNU Image Manipulation Programme. Descriptive analysis compared standing fleshed foot length and forefoot width against the same measurements taken from walking and jumping footprints with and without ghosting.Results suggested walking footprint length with ghosting (x¯ = 268.61 mm) was greater than standing fleshed foot length (x¯ = 264.3 mm) and jumping footprint length with ghosting (x¯ = 261.57 mm). However, standing fleshed foot length was found to be greater than walking (x¯ = 254.85 mm) or jumping (x¯ = 255.63 mm) footprint lengths without ghosting. Forefoot widths showed standing fleshed foot width (x¯ = 105.66 mm) was greater than walking (x¯ = 95.63 mm) or jumping (x¯ = 98.03 mm) footprint widths. This study identifies variation in measurements of the standing fleshed foot and those of walking and jumping footprints, including variability between different dynamic states.
  • Post-mortem interval estimation based on insect evidence in a quasi-indoor
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 June 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Szymon Matuszewski, Anna Mądra-Bielewicz Insects collected on indoor cadavers are frequently used for post-mortem interval (PMI) estimation. Buildings encountered during crime investigations vary according to temperatures inside, the extent of insect access restriction or sanitary conditions. This article reports the PMI oriented analyses of insect evidence sampled from the human cadaver in the atypical indoor habitat. The body was found in the uninhabited house, on the floor covered with rubbish, in the room with no doors and windows. Thermal conditions in the room were less variable than in the local weather station, however still much more variable compared to the typical indoor habitat, indicating the need for retrospective correction of temperature records from the station. Cadaver entomofauna was surprisingly diverse and abundant. We recorded several taxa usually not occurring on indoor cadavers, e.g. immature stages of Necrodes littoralis (Coleoptera: Silphidae) or Stearibia nigriceps (Diptera: Piophilidae). PMI was based on the age and the pre-appearance interval estimated for live puparium of S. nigriceps, giving the total interval of 37 (±7.4) days plus 4–20 days resulting from the absence of first colonizing specimens of the species. This estimate was corroborated with the age estimate for empty puparia of Sarcophaga argyrostoma (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) with traces of Nasonia sp. (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) eclosion. Other insects indicated shorter but consistent PMI. Difficulties and limitations of insect-based PMI estimations in unusual indoor habitats are discussed.
  • Better science for better justice: A proposal for joint experts
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 June 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Itiel Dror, Bridget McCormack, Jules Epstein
  • From unknown to known: Identification of the remains at the mausoleum of
           fosse Ardeatine
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Elena Pilli, Silvia Boccone, Alessandro Agostino, Antonino Virgili, Giancarlo D'Errico, Martina Lari, Cesare Rapone, Filippo Barni, Jacopo Moggi Cecchi, Andrea Berti, David Caramelli During the Second World War, on 24th March 1944, 335 Italians were massacred near Rome by the occupying forces of Nazi Germany. Four months later forensic examination led to the identification of 323 out of 335 victims. After approximately 60 years, the identification of the remaining unidentified twelve victims began with anthropological and genetic analysis carried out by a team of Italian forensic experts. Anthropological analysis was performed in field in order to confirm the sex of each victim and verify the presence of only one individual in each grave for a correct sampling. Selected bone fragments for each individual were then collected and transferred to the laboratory for genetic analysis. Although the anthropological ante mortem information was limited, morphological and metrical data was collected for a possible future identification of the victims. Subsequently, the typing of autosomal loci, Y-STR and mtDNA D-loop region of all bone and available reference samples was conducted. LR and cumulative LRs obtained from autosomal STR and Y-STR results confirmed the alleged relationship between three victims and their relatives with values over 104 (one sample) and 106 (two samples). Therefore, the genetic analysis offered the families the possibility of replacing the number of the grave with the name of the victim.
  • Fingermark visualisation on metal surfaces: An initial investigation of
           the influence of surface condition on process effectiveness
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): M. Pitera, V.G. Sears, S.M. Bleay, S. Park Fingermark recovery from metal surfaces is an area of operational interest, both from the association of metals with weapons used in violent crime and from the increasing incidence in metal theft. This paper reports a feasibility study into the effectiveness of a range of fingermark visualisation processes in developing fingermarks on clean metals (brass, bronze and stainless steel), and on the same metals after prolonged exposure to an outdoor environment. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to investigate how the surface type and condition could influence the development of fingermarks for each of the processes used. It was found that the behaviour observed varied between each of the processes (cyanoacrylate fuming, Lumicyano™, gun blueing and carbon-based powder suspension). In some cases the chemical composition of the surface affected the development of the mark more than the surface condition, and in other cases the reverse was true. The best performing processes differed according to the surface type and condition, with cyanoacrylate fuming processes working best on brass and bronze, and powder suspensions being better on stainless steel. These preliminary results reinforce the need to take into account both surface type and condition before selection of the most effective fingermark visualisation process and demonstrate the value of techniques such as SEM in developing a fundamental understanding of the interactions between fingermarks and surfaces.
  • Forensic DNA retention: Public perspective studies in the United Kingdom
           and around the world
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Aaron Opoku Amankwaa This review analysed public perspective studies on forensic DNA retention in the United Kingdom and around the world. The studies generally show strong public support for the long-term or indefinite retention of DNA from convicts and suspects. There is considerable support for the retention of DNA from all or some arrestees and potentially the entire population. This was predicated upon the belief that forensic DNA databases have crime-solving abilities, which the public rate highly. In the UK, it was found that the current Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 regime is broadly representative of the recommendations of the surveyed British public. Nevertheless, the studies highlighted a gap in forensic DNA education among the public, suggesting that public views may not be well informed. Overall, there was clear evidence of privacy concerns and the potential misuse of DNA records among the public, with a significant number opposing the retention of DNA from the innocent. It was found that most of the studies were qualitative or non-representative of the relevant population, limiting the generalisation of the results. There was also limited studies among a representative sample of primary stakeholders who are well-informed or directly exposed to the benefits, challenges and risks associated with DNA retention. A research into stakeholders rating of different forensic DNA retention regimes is therefore highly recommended. This is important because the studies suggest divergent views among criminal justice professionals and other members of the public, with the former expressing expansive views and the latter expressing restrictive views. The primary stakeholder's survey will help establish whether the relevant safeguards have been put in place to protect both public security and individual interests.
  • The United Kingdom and Ireland association of forensic toxicologists
           forensic toxicology laboratory guidelines (2018)
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Simon P. Elliott, Duncan W.S. Stephen, Sue Paterson In 2010, the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists (UKIAFT) created forensic toxicology laboratory guidelines. This represents a revision of those guidelines as a result of the changing toxicological and technical landscape.
  • Decision support for using mobile rapid DNA analysis at the crime scene
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): A.A. Mapes, R.D. Stoel, C.J. de Poot, P. Vergeer, M. Huyck Mobile Rapid DNA technology is close to being incorporated into crime scene investigations, with the potential to identify a perpetrator within hours. However, the use of these techniques entails the risk of losing the sample and potential evidence, because the device not only consumes the inserted sample, it is also is less sensitive than traditional technologies used in forensic laboratories. Scene of Crime Officers (SoCOs) therefore will face a ‘time/success rate trade-off’ issue when making a decision to apply this technology.In this study we designed and experimentally tested a Decision Support System (DSS) for the use of Rapid DNA technologies based on Rational Decision Theory (RDT). In a vignette study, where SoCOs had to decide on the use of a Rapid DNA analysis device, participating SoCOs were assigned to either the control group (making decisions under standard conditions), the Success Rate (SR) group (making decisions with additional information on DNA success rates of traces), or the DSS group (making decisions supported by introduction to RDT, including information on DNA success rates of traces).This study provides positive evidence that a systematic approach for decision-making on using Rapid DNA analysis assists SoCOs in the decision to use the rapid device. The results demonstrated that participants using a DSS made different and more transparent decisions on the use of Rapid DNA analysis when different case characteristics were explicitly considered. In the DSS group the decision to apply Rapid DNA analysis was influenced by the factors “time pressure” and “trace characteristics” like DNA success rates. In the SR group, the decisions depended solely on the trace characteristics and in the control group the decisions did not show any systematic differences on crime type or trace characteristic.Guiding complex decisions on the use of Rapid DNA analyses with a DSS could be an important step towards the use of these devices at the crime scene.
  • Impact of aging on fingerprint ridge density: Anthropometry and forensic
           implications in sex inference
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Angeles Sánchez-Andrés, José Antonio Barea, Noemí Rivaldería, Concepción Alonso-Rodríguez, Esperanza Gutiérrez-Redomero The variation in the epidermal ridge's width between the sexes, during various growth stages, and among different populations has been previously assessed. However, the changes that occur with aging are barely known.The goal of this study was to analyse the degree of variation in epidermal ridge width due to aging. So that, fingerprint ridge density was estimated to establish their relationship with body and hand size changes that typically occur in adulthood.In this study, a sample of 213 adults of both sexes from a Spanish native population of different age ranges—18–30 years old (“junior” group) and 50–66 years old (“senior” group)—was used. Ridge density was assessed in three counting areas of the distal phalanx of each finger (radial, ulnar, and proximal). Height, weight, and a set of anthropometric measurements for both hands were also taken.Our results show that ridge density is higher in females than males throughout adulthood and decreases with aging in the radial and ulnar areas (as the hands widen) but not in the proximal region. Thus, a relationship between hand dimensions and ridge density was found.The data indicate that aging changes may conceal the recognized sex differences in ridge density, and so a better understanding of the topological variations in the epidermal ridge width throughout the life cycle and the factors involved would facilitate the interpretation of the differences between the sexes and different age groups.
  • Are DNA data a valid source to study the spatial behavior of unknown
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Sabine De Moor, Christophe Vandeviver, Tom Vander Beken Studying the spatial behaviour of unknown offenders (i.e. undetected offenders) is difficult, because police recorded crime data do not contain information about these offenders. Recently, forensic DNA data has been used to study unknown offenders. However, DNA data are only a subset of the crimes committed by unknown offenders stored in police recorded crime data. To establish the suitability of DNA data for studying the spatial offending behaviour of unknown offenders, we examine the concentration and spatial similarity of detected but unsolved crimes in police recorded crime data (N = 181,483) and DNA data (N = 1913) over 27 Belgian judicial districts for four crime types. We established spatial similarity for certain crime types (in some districts). This offers opportunities for DNA data to be used to study unknown offenders' spatial offending behaviour. Implications for theory and research are discussed.
  • Is Australia ready for fentanyl'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 May 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Hugh E. McKeown, Trevor J. Rook, James R. Pearson, Oliver A.H. Jones
  • A preliminary assessment of the effect of PreCR™ DNA repair treatment on
           mixture ratios in two person mixtures
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 April 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): David San Pietro, Franco Tagliaro, Michael S. Adamowicz In this study, DNA extracted from known buccal samples was combined into two component mixture samples. These were subjected to UV exposure prior to their amplification with the Promega PowerPlex® 16HS amplification kit, and subsequent capillary electrophoresis on the ABI 3130xl instrument. Damaged samples were subjected to enzymatic repair treatment and retested to assess the amount of repair. Data showed that there is fidelity associated with the application with profile concordance after its use, and a corresponding increase in the amount of recovered alleles post damage. Results also showed changes in the stochastic relationship between mixture components that appear to be induced by the repair process itself. The mixture ratios of DNA samples were altered from an approximate original 1:3 ratio, to a ratio of 1:2 or greater. This variation can have a significant effect regarding the ability to reliably de-convolute DNA mixtures that have been subjected to the repair process.
  • “I couldn't find it your honour, it mustn't be there!” – Tool
           errors, tool limitations and user error in digital forensics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 April 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Graeme Horsman The field of digital forensics maintains significant reliance on the software it uses to acquire and investigate forms of digital evidence. Without these tools, analysis of digital devices would often not be possible. Despite such levels of reliance, techniques for validating digital forensic software are sparse and research is limited in both volume and depth. As practitioners pursue the goal of producing robust evidence, they face the onerous task of both ensuring the accuracy of their tools and, their effective use. Whilst tool errors provide one issue, establishing a tool's limitations also provides an investigatory challenge leading the potential for practitioner user-error and ultimately a grey area of accountability. This article debates the problems surrounding digital forensic tool usage, evidential reliability and validation.
  • A novel FTA™ elute card collection method that improves direct DNA
           amplification from bloodstained concrete
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 30 March 2018Source: Science & JusticeAuthor(s): Stephen G. Lipic, Lucille M. Giordullo, Jamie D. Fredericks Concrete is a common construction material found in residential and commercial buildings, bridges and parking lots that is a composite matrix containing aggregate held together with cement. The porous nature of concrete can make the collection and genotyping of biological fluids, such as blood, challenging. Forensic evidence can become embedded within the matrix, potentially reducing the amount of DNA available for analysis. In forensic science, “direct” amplification refers to a genotyping method that amplifies a DNA profile directly from a sample without DNA extraction, saving time and money. We investigated a novel application of Whatman™ FTA™ Elute cards in their ability to directly amplify PowerPlex® Fusion and Y23 profiles from minute amounts of blood that had been deposited on different concrete structures. In comparison to traditional collection methods, directly profiling blood stained construction materials using FTA™ Elute cards increased the percentage loci amplified and significantly improved both allele peak height and peak height ratio while reducing allelic drop-out. FTA™ Elute cards can provide a reliable, inexpensive and superior alternative to traditional methods.
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