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Forensic biology

Eirik Nataas Hanssen, Robert Lyle, Thore Egeland, Peter Gill
Routine forensic analysis using STRs will fail if the DNA is too degraded. The DNA degradation process in biological stain material is not well understood. In this study we sequenced old semen and blood stains by massively parallel sequencing. The sequence data coverage was used to measure degradation across the genome. The results supported the contention that degradation is uniform across the genome, showing no evidence of regions with increased or decreased resistance towards degradation. Thus the lack of genetic regions robust to degradation removes the possibility of using such regions to further optimize analysis performance for degraded DNA...
January 3, 2017: Forensic Science International. Genetics
Monika Rużycka, Joanna Giebułtowicz, Marcin Fudalej, Paweł Krajewski, Piotr Wroczyński
Cyanides are infamous for their highly poisonous properties. Accidental cyanide poisoning occurs frequently, but occasionally, intentional poisonings also occur. Inhalation of fumes generated by fire may also cause cyanide poisoning. There are many limitations in direct analysis of cyanide. 2-Aminothiazoline-4-carboxylic acid (ATCA), a cyanide metabolite, seems to be the only surrogate that is being used in the detection of cyanide because of its stability and its cyanide-dependent quality in biological matrix...
January 12, 2017: Chemical Research in Toxicology
Bernd Degen, Céline Blanc-Jolivet, Katrin Stierand, Elizabeth Gillet
During the past decade, the use of DNA for forensic applications has been extensively implemented for plant and animal species, as well as in humans. Tracing back the geographical origin of an individual usually requires genetic assignment analysis. These approaches are based on reference samples that are grouped into populations or other aggregates and intend to identify the most likely group of origin. Often this grouping does not have a biological but rather a historical or political justification, such as "country of origin"...
December 29, 2016: Forensic Science International. Genetics
Jeremy Carlier, Xingxing Diao, Cristina Sempio, Marilyn A Huestis
ADB-CHMINACA (MAB-CHMINACA) is a new synthetic cannabinoid with high potency and many reported adverse events and fatalities. The drug is currently scheduled in several countries in Europe and the USA. Analytical methods need to be developed to confirm ADB-CHMINACA intake for clinical and forensic programs. For many synthetic cannabinoids, parent compound is not detectable in biological samples after intake, making the detection of metabolites the only way to prove consumption. Therefore, detection of ADB-CHMINACA metabolites in biological specimens is critical...
January 9, 2017: AAPS Journal
Lana Ostojic, Elisa Wurmbach
Fingerprints can be of tremendous value for forensic biology, since they can be collected from a wide variety of evident types, such as handles of weapons, tools collected in criminal cases, and objects with no apparent staining. DNA obtained from fingerprints varies greatly in quality and quantity, which ultimately affects the quality of the resulting STR profiles. Additional difficulties can arise when fingerprint samples show mixed STR profiles due to the handling of multiple persons. After applying a tested protocol for sample collection (swabbing with 5% Triton X-100), DNA extraction (using an enzyme that works at elevated temperatures), and PCR amplification (AmpFlSTR® Identifiler® using 31cycles) extensive analysis was performed to better understand the challenges inherent to fingerprint samples, with the ultimate goal of developing valuable profiles (≥50% complete)...
January 2017: Science & Justice: Journal of the Forensic Science Society
Elisabetta Bertol, Jennifer Pascali, Diego Palumbo, Valeria Catalani, Maria Grazia Di Milia, Alessia Fioravanti, Francesco Mari, Fabio Vaiano
3-MeO-PCP or 3-methoxyphencyclidine is a derivative of phencyclidine. It acts as a dissociative anesthetic and it has allegedly hallucinogenic and sedative effects. There are almost no documented intoxication cases and references about its pharmacology and toxicity in literature. This study presents two concomitant intoxication cases due to consumption of 3-MeO-PCP and alcohol. A 19 (A) and a 21 years old (B) men were brought to Santa Maria Nuova Hospital in a comatose state (Glasgow score 3). They showed respiratory acidosis, right anisocoria with mydriatic pupils and hypothermia...
December 26, 2016: Forensic Science International
Christine Mayer, Sonja Windhager, Katrin Schaefer, Philipp Mitteroecker
Facial markers of body composition are frequently studied in evolutionary psychology and are important in computational and forensic face recognition. We assessed the association of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) with facial shape and texture (color pattern) in a sample of young Middle European women by a combination of geometric morphometrics and image analysis. Faces of women with high BMI had a wider and rounder facial outline relative to the size of the eyes and lips, and relatively lower eyebrows...
2017: PloS One
Arezou Taghvimi, Hamed Hamishehkar
This paper develops a highly selective, specific and efficient method for simultaneous determination of ephedrine and methamphetamine by a new carbon coated magnetic nanoparticles (C/MNPs) as a magnetic solid phase extraction (MSPE) adsorbent in biological urine medium. The characterization of synthesized magnetic nano adsorbent was completely carried out by various characterization techniques like Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, powder x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM)...
January 15, 2017: Journal of Chromatography. B, Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
Caitlyn Fachet, Lawrence Quarino, K Joy Karnas
A high resolution melt curve assay to differentiate semen from blood, saliva, urine, and vaginal fluid based on methylation status at the Dapper Isoform 1 (DACT1) gene was developed. Stains made from blood, saliva, urine, semen, and vaginal fluid were obtained from volunteers and DNA was isolated using either organic extraction (saliva, urine, and vaginal fluid) or Chelex(®) 100 extraction (blood and semen). Extracts were then subjected to bisulfite modification in order to convert unmethylated cytosines to uracil, consequently creating sequences whose amplicons have melt curves that vary depending on their initial methylation status...
December 27, 2016: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Zbyšek Seifert, Lukáš Friedl, Kathia Chaumoitre, Jaroslav Brůžek
Sex assessment of skeletal remains in the context of forensic investigation is one of the most important components when constructing biological profile of the deceased individual since it helps to significantly narrow down the number of potential victims. Therefore, the number of methods suitable to estimate sex should be as wide as possible, especially for cases of highly fragmented remains. This paper offers a classification method for sexing human remains based on an area around foramen magnum and tests other similar discriminatory functions published elsewhere on an independent sample from the circummediterranean region...
December 8, 2016: Forensic Science International
Kuan Sun, Yi Ye, Tao Luo, Yiping Hou
Ancestry inference is of great interest in diverse areas of scientific researches, including the forensic biology, medical genetics and anthropology. Various methods have been published for distinguishing populations. However, few reports refer to sub-populations (like ethnic groups) within Asian populations for the limitation of markers. Several InDel loci located very tightly in physical positions were treated as one marker by us, which is multi-InDel. The multi-InDel shows potential as Ancestry Inference Marker (AIM)...
December 22, 2016: Scientific Reports
Sebastian Brandt, Felix David Klute, Alexander Schütz, Joachim Franzke
Dielectric barrier discharges are used for analytical applications as dissociative source for optical emission spectrometry and for ambient-ionization techniques. In the range of ambient-ionization techniques it has attracted much attention in fields like food safety, biological analysis, mass spectrometry for reaction monitoring and imaging forensic identification. In this review some examples are given for the application as desorption/ionization source as well as for the sole application as ionization source with different sample introductions...
January 25, 2017: Analytica Chimica Acta
Cristina E Stanciu, M Katherine Philpott, Eduardo E Bustamante, Ye Jin Kwon, Christopher J Ehrhardt
Interpretation of touch DNA mixtures poses a significant challenge for forensic caseworking laboratories.  Front end techniques that facilitate separation of contributor cell populations before DNA extraction are a way to circumvent this problem. The goal of this study was to survey intrinsic fluorescence of epidermal cells collected from touch surfaces and investigate whether this property could potentially be used to discriminate between contributor cell populations in a biological mixture.  Analysis of red autofluorescence (650-670nm) showed that some contributors could be distinguished on this basis...
2016: F1000Research
Sandrine Demanèche, Leif Schauser, Lorna Dawson, Laure Franqueville, Pascal Simonet
Soil complexity, heterogeneity and transferability make it valuable in forensic investigations to help obtain clues as to the origin of an unknown sample, or to compare samples from a suspect or object with samples collected at a crime scene. In a few countries, soil analysis is used in matters from site verification to estimates of time after death. However, up to date the application or use of soil information in criminal investigations has been limited. In particular, comparing bacterial communities in soil samples could be a useful tool for forensic science...
December 9, 2016: Forensic Science International
Alessandra Botteon, Claudia Conti, Marco Realini, Chiara Colombo, Pavel Matousek
We demonstrate for the first time the mapping capability of micro-spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (micro-SORS). The technique enables to form noninvasive images of thin sublayers through highly turbid overlayers. The approach is conceptually demonstrated on recovering overpainted images in situations where conventional Raman microscopy was unable to visualize the sublayer. The specimens mimic real situations encountered in Cultural Heritage that deal, for example, with hidden paintings vandalized with graffiti or covered by superimposed painted layers or whitewash...
December 15, 2016: Analytical Chemistry
J Christopher Dudar, Eric R Castillo
Within many institutional collections are skeletal and mummified human remains representing a part of our species' adaptation and evolution to various biocultural environments. Archaeologically recovered individuals come from deep into our past, and possess information that provides insight into population history, genetics, diet, health and other questions relevant to all living peoples. Academic concerns have been raised regarding the reinterment of these collections due to the rise of the international repatriation movement, the passage of various laws and implementation of institutional policies...
December 15, 2016: Journal of Anatomy
Marco Realini, Claudia Conti, Alessandra Botteon, Chiara Colombo, Pavel Matousek
We present, for the first time, a portable full micro-Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (micro-SORS) prototype permitting the in situ analysis of thin, highly turbid stratified layers at depths not accessible to conventional Raman microscopy. The technique is suitable for the characterisation of painted layers in panels, canvases and mural paintings, painted statues and decorated objects in cultural heritage or stratified polymers, and biological, catalytic and forensics samples where invasive analysis is undesirable or impossible to perform...
December 14, 2016: Analyst
Kelly M Elkins, Anjelica C U Perez, Alicia A Quinn
The international prevalence of "legal high" drugs necessitates the development of a method for their detection and identification. Herein, we describe the development and validation of a tetraplex multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay used to simultaneously identify morning glory, jimson weed, Hawaiian woodrose, and marijuana detected by high-resolution melt using LCGreen Plus(®) . The PCR assay was evaluated based on the following: (i) specificity and selectivity-primers were tested on DNA extracted from 30 species and simulated forensic samples, (ii) sensitivity-serial dilutions of the target DNA were prepared, and (iii) reproducibility and reliability-sample replicates were tested and remelted on different days...
December 13, 2016: Journal of Forensic Sciences
Kevin M Legg, Roger Powell, Nichole Reisdorph, Rick Reisdorph, Phillip B Danielson
Advances in proteomics technology over the past decade offer forensic serologists a greatly improved opportunity to accurately characterize the tissue source from which a DNA has been developed. Such information can provide critical context to evidence and can help to prioritize downstream DNA analysis. Previous proteome studies compiled panels of "candidate biomarkers" specific to each of six body fluids (i.e. peripheral blood, menstrual fluid, vaginal fluid, seminal fluid, urine and saliva). Here, a multiplex Quadrupole Time-of-flight assay has been developed in order to verify the tissue/body fluid specificity the 23 protein biomarkers that comprise these panels and the consistency with which they can be detected across a samples population of fifty humans...
December 12, 2016: Electrophoresis
Y M Long, W S Chao, G J Ma, S S Xu, L L Qi
An innovative genotyping method designated as semi-thermal asymmetric reverse PCR (STARP) was developed for genotyping individual SNPs with improved accuracy, flexible throughputs, low operational costs, and high platform compatibility. Multiplex chip-based technology for genome-scale genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) has made great progress in the past two decades. However, PCR-based genotyping of individual SNPs still remains problematic in accuracy, throughput, simplicity, and/or operational costs as well as the compatibility with multiple platforms...
December 9, 2016: TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik
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