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Forensic Analysis of a Playstation® 3 ‘Slim’ Model
Elise Chom is from Fraser, Michigan. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2009 where she received a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Elise is currently a graduate student at Marshall University where she is studying for a Masters degree in Forensic Science with emphases in computer forensics, forensic chemistry, and crime scene investigation. She completed her internship at Marshall University, specifically in the Marshall Information Security and Digital Evidence lab. Elise performed forensic research and analysis on a Sony Playstation® 3 ‘Slim’ Model.
Gaming consoles have greatly advanced since the 1970s, with seventh generation game consoles including the Sony PlayStation® 3 (PS3) almost functioning as a personal computer. Because of this functionality, the PS3 can be used for activities beyond its intended use. Investigating the PS3 ‘Slim’ offers a unique challenge and this research was undertaken to uncover ways to retrieve evidence from a PS3. Standard computer forensic protocol cannot be followed because each PS3 system has a unique encryption algorithm. Without decryption, evidence retrieval must be done natively, via a USB flash drive, or through controller syncing.
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (n.d.). PlayStation®3 Worldwide Hardware Unit Sales. Retrieved from http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/data/bizdataps3_sale_e.html
Conad, S., Dorn, G., & Craiger, J. P. (2009). Forensic analysis of a sony playstation 3 gaming console. Proceedings of the 6th Annual conference of the international federation of information processing, Retrieved from http://consoleforensics.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/2009_Dorn_et_al_PS3.pdf
Internal Validation of DNA Extraction from Bone and Tooth Samples Using Qiagen’s BioRobot EZ1
Stephanie Kuntz is from Wheeling, WV. She attended Marshall University from which she received her BS degree in Forensic Chemistry with a minor in Criminal Justice. Currently, Stephanie is enrolled in the Marshall University Forensic Science Graduate Program seeking emphases in DNA Analysis and Computer Forensics. During the summer of 2010 she worked with the Wyoming State Crime Laboratory validating their BioRobot EZ1’s for DNA extraction from bone and tooth samples.
The validation of a protocol for bone and tooth DNA extraction using the BioRobot EZ1 (Qiagen, Valencia, CA) was performed for use with casework samples. The protocol allows for an effective method of extracting DNA from these challenging sample types. In this validation multiple comparisons to an original protocol were performed, including the use of carrier RNA versus no carrier RNA, a Large Volume protocol versus Trace protocol, a Chelex® 100 method and a North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory (NLCL) procedure. When all methods were compared, the NLCL method was chosen and validated for use at the WSCL (Wyoming State Crime Laboratory).
Butler, John M. 2005. Forensic DNA Typing: Biology, Technology, and Genetics of STR Markers (Second Edition). Elsevier Academic Press, Burlington, MA.
FBI. 2009. Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories. Forensic Science Communications, July 2009, Volume 2, Number 3..
Latham K & Ritke M (2006). Bone DNA Purification Protocols for Genetic Analysis. University of Indianapolis Archeology & Forensics Laboratory. http://archlab.uindy.edu. Last update: June 27, 2006.
Loreille, Odile M., et. al. 2007. High Efficiency DNA Extraction from Bone by Total Demineralization. Forensic Science International Volume 1 Issue 2 (2007) 191-195. June, 2007.
Trifluoroacetyl Derivatization of Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA and Other Controlled Substances with Similar Mass Spectra
Erin Elizabeth LaGrone is from Katy, Texas, and she received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She will graduate this May with her master’s degree in forensic science from Marshall University with emphases in forensic chemistry and crime scene investigation. This past summer she interned with the forensic chemistry division of the Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas, where she conducted research in the derivatization of controlled substances.
For the identification of a controlled substance, mass spectrometry is the most commonly used method. However, there are some cases where the controlled substance shares a similar mass spectrum with a drug of a lower scheduling or a compound that is not even considered to be a controlled substance, such as methamphetamine and phentermine. Here, it is proposed that the derivatization of these compounds will create mass spectra that are sufficiently different enough to make a positive identification. Controlled substance standards were derivatized with trifluoroacetic anhydride and analyzed with a GC-MS, resulting in unique, identifiable spectra for each standard.
Zaitsu, K., Katagi, M., Kamata, H. T., Miki, A., Tsuchihashi, H., “ Discrimination and identification of regioisomeric β-keto analogues of 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamines by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry,” Forensic Toxicology, Vol. 26, 2008, pp. 45-51
“SWGDrug Recommendations,” Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs, 5th Ed., 29 January 2010, pp. 14-16
Frison, G., Tedeschi, L., Favretto, D., Reheman, A., Ferrara, S. D., “Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry determination of amphetamine-related drugs and ephedrines in plasma, urine and hair samples after derivatization with 2,2,2-trichloroethyl chloroformate,” Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Vol. 19, 2005, pp. 919-927
“Thermo Scientific Pierce Reagents, Solvents and Accessories,” Thermo Scientific, 2008, pp. 1,2, 4, 13, 16
Gan, B. K., Baugh, D., Liu, R. H., Walia, A. S., “Simultaneous Analysis of Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, and 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in Urine Samples by Solid-Phase Extraction, Derivatization, and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry,” Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 36, 1991, pp. 1331-1341
Validation of the Applied Biosystems AmpFlSTR® Yfiler™ PCR Amplification Kit
Brandy Jean Maydon grew up in La Feria, Texas. After graduating from high school, she attended Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Forensic Science with an emphasis in Forensic Science in 2009. She is currently attending Marshall University, where she is working towards a degree in Forensic Science with emphasis’ in forensic DNA analysis and Digital Forensics. This summer, Brandy worked in the Miami Dade Crime Lab in Miami, Florida and today she will present on that work titled: Validation of the Applied Biosystems AmpFlSTR® Yfiler™ PCR Amplification Kit.
The Yfiler kit is used to produce male specific profiles by utilizing loci from the Y chromosome. Seven studies observing sensitivity, precision, inhibition, mixtures, nonprobative casework, nonhuman DNA and family samples were performed to determine the kits optimal parameters for forensic casework samples. The kit was shown to be human male specific with no interference occurring due to the presence of female DNA, and identical profiles were produced between paternally linked males. Yfiler showed a sensitivity range between 0.15-1.5 ng/µl and high precision. Successful amplification of DNA was seen in casework samples but inhibition can occur in the presence of rhodamine and NaCl. Further studies manipulating inhibition concentrations and sensitivity to touch DNA compared to Identifiler deserve further inquiry.
Koilff, Peter de. “Son, Give Up Your Gun: Presenting Y-STR Results in Court”. Profiles in DNA. September 2003.
Julio J. Mulero,1 Ph.D.; Chien Wei Chang,1 Ph.D.; Lisa M. Calandro,1 M.P.H.; Robert L. Green,1 B.A.;Yixin Li,1 Ph.D.; Cassie L. Johnson, M.S.; and Lori K. Hennessy,1 Ph.D. “Development and Validation of the AmpF‘STRsYfilerTM PCR Amplification Kit: A Male Specific,Single Amplification 17 Y-STR MultiplexSystem.” J Forensic Sci, January 2006, Vol. 51, No. 1
Kimberly A. Sturk, Michael D. Coble, Suzanne M. Barritt, Jodi A. Irwin “Evaluation of Modified Yfiler Amplification Strategy for Compromised Samples.” Croat Med J. 2009; 50: 228-38
Kathleen A. Mayntz-Press, M.S. and Jack Ballantyne,Ph.D. “Performance Characteristics of Commercial Y-STR Multiplex Systems*” Forensic Sci, September 2007, Vol. 52, No. 5
Comparison of Collection Devices and Commonly used Human Identification Kits for Forensic DNA Profiling of Soil-Inhibited Saliva-Skin Samples
Dishari Mukherjee hails from Calcutta, India. She graduated in 2008 from Topiwala National Medical College, Bombay, India with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree. During her undergraduate years, she completed one and a half years of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology coursework. She is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Forensic Science at Marshall University, with emphases in DNA Analysis and Digital Forensics.Her poster presentation is titled, “Comparison of Collection Devices and Commonly used Human Identification Kits for Forensic DNA Profiling of Soil-Inhibited Saliva-Skin Samples”, based on the research she conducted during her summer internship. Shealso gave a poster presentation on the same at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences’ Annual Scientific Meeting, Chicago, 2011.
Saliva deposited on skin can be an important source of DNA for profiling in Forensic Investigations. Unfortunately, human identification from saliva on skin can be challenging as failure to achieve a full-profile is known to result when environmental contaminants are co-collected with the saliva sample. Environmental contaminants present on victim skin surfaces may include soil and dust which are known to be PCR inhibitors.
The purpose of this study was to identify an optimal series of procedures capable of maximizing the probability of DNA recovery and fingerprinting from soil-contaminated, male saliva stains on female skin. This study made use of commercially-available kits and supplies typically used in Forensic DNA laboratories. The experiments were conducted after IRB approval for human research was obtained. Male saliva samples were applied to pre-measured areas of female skin. The testing samples were collected after allowing the saliva stain to properly dry. Two collection devices were tested: polyester tipped sterile cotton swabs (FisherBrand) and sample collection popules (Puritan). The double swab technique (wet and dry swabs, respectively) was used for collecting saliva samples with the swabs to maximize cell collection. Various concentrations of soil were added to a portion of the saliva-skin samples after collection. Two magnetic particle based DNA extraction kits: Promega’s DNA IQ™ and Applied Biosystem’s (AB) Prepfiler™ were compared on the basis of their performance in DNA recovery. Quantification was performed using AB Quantifiler® Duo DNA Quantification Kit on the AB 7500 Sequence Detection System v1.2.3. PCR amplification was conducted with two multiplex STR systems: AB’s AmpFℓSTR® Identifiler® PCR Amplification Kit and Promega’s PowerPlex® 16 System, on the AB GeneAmp® PCR System 9700. The amplified products were separated on the AB 3130xl Genetic Analyzer. The data generated was analyzed using AB’s GeneMapper® ID Software v3.2.1. Sample peak height, allelic dropout, and presence of artifacts were taken into consideration when making a determination of the best set of kits for generating DNA profiles of the aforementioned samples.
Our results indicate that there was no statistically significant difference between popules and swabs as collection devices. DNA IQ™ gave more consistent results as compared to PrepFiler™. Identifiler® outperformed PowerPlex® 16 in the presence of soil PCR Inhibitor. Thus, the recommended methodology for profiling of soil-contaminated male saliva on female skin, using kits and supplies commonly used in Forensic DNA labs, based on the present research, will be sample collection with cotton swabs using the “Double Swab” collection technique, extraction using Promega’s DNA IQ™ DNA Extraction kit and amplification with AB AmpFℓSTR® Identifiler® PCR Amplification Kit.
Pang BCM, Cheung BKK, Double swab technique for collecting touched evidence, Legal Medicine 9, 2007, 181–184.
Sweet DJ, Lorente M, Lorente JA, Valenzuela A and Villanueva E, An Improved Method to Recover Saliva from Human Skin: The Double Swab Technique, Journal ofForensic Sciences, 42 (2), 1997, 320-22.
Evelyn Anzai-Kanto ,Mário Hiroyuki Hirata, Rosario Dominguez Crespo Hirata, Fabio Daumas Nunes, Rodolfo Francisco Haltenhoff Melani, Rogério Nogueira Oliveira, DNA extraction from human saliva deposited on skin and its use in forensic identification procedures, Braz Oral Res, 19(3), 2005, 216-22.
John W. Bond, Christine Hammond, The Value of DNA Material Recovered from Crime Scenes, J Forensic Sci, 53 (4), 2008, 797-801.
Chris Collopy, Mini-Popule Developed to Maximize DNA Recovery for Robotic Forensic Analysis, Forensic Magazine, http://www.forensicmag.com, 2008.
Kim Windram, Scott Miller, Denise Ward, Ted Silenieks and Julianne Henry, Comparison of Swab Types for the recover of trace DNA in Forensic Investigations, Evidence Recovery and Biology Analytical Groups, Biology Report R73, Government of South Australia, 2005.
Applied Biosystems, PrepFiler™ Forensic DNA Extraction Kit, User Guide, Part # 4390932 Rev. 01, 2008.
Applied Biosystems, PrepFiler™ Forensic DNA Extraction Kit, Product Bulletin Human Identification, 2008.
Promega, DNA IQ™ System- Small Sample Casework Protocol, Technical Bulletin, Part # TB296, 2009.
Promega, PowerPlex® 16 System, Technical Manual, Part #TMD012, 2008.
Analysis and characterization of several varieties of synthetic cannabinoids
Amber Rasmussen is from Appleton, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and Human Biology with minors in Chemistry and Spanish. She is currently a graduate student in Marshall University’s Forensic Science Program with emphases in DNA Analysis, Computer Forensics, and Crime Scene Investigation. Her poster is entitled “Analysis and characterization of several varieties of synthetic cannabinoids.”
Synthetic cannabinoid compounds are added to a mixture of vegetative material in order to produce effects similar to or greater than cannabis, and are commonly marketed as herbal incense or potpourri. Some of the most frequently reported compounds include HU-210, CP 47,497 (and its homologs), JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-398, and JWH-250. A simple methanol extraction followed by GC/MS analysis is sufficient for the identification of many of these compounds within samples of the unburned product. An analysis of the burnt residue and ashes remaining after burning a portion of synthetic cannabinoid sample indicates a diminished yet identifiable sustained presence of several of these compounds. Future analysis of evidentiary samples may be utilized to track sample cannabinoid content.
Auwarter, V., Dresen, S., Weinmann, W., Muller, M., Putz, M., Ferreiros, N. JMS Letter: ‘Spice’ and other herbal blends: Harmless incense or cannabinoid designer drugs? Journal of Mass Spectrometry. 2009; 44, 832-837.
DEA Public Affairs. DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana. News Release. November 24, 2010.
Emanuel, C., Ellison, B., Banks, C. Spice up your life: screening the illegal components of ‘Spice’ herbal products. Analytical Methods. 2010; 2, 614-616.
Lindigkeit, R., Boehme, A., Eiserloh, I., Luebbecke, M., Wiggerman, M., Ernst, L., Beuerle, T. Spice: A never ending story? Forensic Science International. 2009; 191 58-63.
Microgram Bulletin: “Spice”-Plant materials laced with synthetic cannabinoids or cannabinoid mimicking compounds. Microgram Bulletin. March, 2009.
Understanding the ‘Spice’ phenomenon. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). 2009.
Zimmerman, U., Winkelmann, P., Pilhatsch, M., Nees, J., Spanagel, R., Schultz, K. Withdrawal phenomena and dependence syndrome after the consumption of “Spice Gold”. Ktsch Arztebl International, 2009; 106(27): 464-67.
Comparative Evaluation of Manual Extraction Methods for the Biology/DNA Detail of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Laboratory
Megan Rommel is from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Duke University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, concentrating in Genetics, and minors in Chemistry and Psychology. She is a second year graduate student in the Master’s of Forensic Science Program at Marshall University, completing areas of emphasis in forensic DNA analysis, crime scene investigation, and computer forensics. Megan completed her summer internship with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in the Forensic Laboratory’s Biology/DNA Detail.
An extraction method for forensic DNA casework must produce a high quantitative yield as well as a robust STR profile free from artifacts across all sample types, including low level samples such as touch DNA. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Laboratory Biology/DNA Detail has previously relied on phenol-chloroform organic extraction for forensic casework. In order to expedite the extraction process and foray into automation instruments, a comparison study was undertaken with Applied Biosystems’ PrepFilerTM Forensic DNA Extraction Kit and Qiagen’s QIAamp® DNA Investigator Kit for the purpose of determining a manual extraction chemistry to replace organic extractions and to be automated in the future. The kits were evaluated on the basis of I) contamination issues II) quantitative yield III) STR profile quality IV) future automation potential V) time consumption of the method and VI) cost of the method. Based on the results of this study, LVMPD chose to validate the PrepFilerTM Forensic DNA Extraction Kit, citing higher quantitative yields for low level samples and better detection of minor contributors in mixture samples than the other methods, along with STR profile quality comparable to an organic extraction.
Applied Biosystems. AmpFlSTR® Identifiler® Plus PCR Amplification Kit User’s Guide. Foster City, CA: Applied Biosystems, 2009; Part #4402743 Rev. A.
Applied Biosystems. PrepFilerTM Forensic DNA Extraction Kit User Guide. Foster City, CA: Applied Biosystems, 2008; Part #4390932 Rev. B.
Barbaro, A, Cormaci P, Agostino A. Validation of PrepFilerTM forensic DNA extraction kit (Applied Biosystems). Forensic Sci Int 2009; 2: 176-177.
Brevnov MG, Pawar HS, Mundt J, Calandro LM, Furtado MR, Shewale JG. Developmental Validation of the PrepFilerTM Forensic DNA Extraction Kit for Extraction of Genomic DNA from Biological Samples. J Forensic Sci 2009 May; 54(3): 599-607.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Laboratory. DNA Procedure Manual. Las Vegas: LVMPD, 2009.
Promega Corporation. Plexor® HY System for the Applied Biosystems 7500 and 7500 FAST Real-Time PCR Systems Technical Manual. Madison, WI: Promega Corporation, 2007; Part #TM293. Rev A.
Qiagen Incorporated. QIAamp® DNA Investigator Handbook. Valencia, CA: Qiagen Incorporated, 2007; Part #56504.
Wickenheiser RA. Trace DNA: A Review, Discussion of Theory, and Application of the Transfer of Trace Quantities of DNA Through Skin Contact. J Forensic Sci 2002; 47(3): 442-450
A Comparative Analysis of Quantifiler® Duo and Plexor®HY DNA Quantification Systems
Andrew Sawin received undergraduate training at Alma College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry. He is currently a second year graduate student at Marshall University where he is majoring in forensic science. He is scheduled to complete his graduate coursework on May 7, 2011, with emphases in forensic DNA analysis and crime scene investigation, and expects to begin employment in one of these fields later this year.
A comparative analysis of Quantifiler® Duo and Plexor®HY DNA quantification systems was conducted to assist forensic laboratories in choosing the combined human-male DNA quantification method that best meets their needs while identifying potential benefits of each system. The systems evaluated were internally validated at Marshall University Forensic Science Center prior to the initiation of this study. This study consisted of an identical sample comparison of each system’s standard curve quality metrics, sensitivity, precision, reproducibility, contamination, and mixture evaluation. Future studies include the addition of the MavenQSTTM quantification system to the comparison study as well as a study to determine the lowest concentration sample at which a Short Tandem Repeat or STR profile of equal or superior quality may be obtained.
Applied Biosystems.Quantifiler® Duo DNA Quantification Kit User’s Manual. Part Number 4391294 Rev 04/2008
Barbisin, Maura, et al. Developmental Validation of the Quantifiler® Duo DNA Quantification Kit for Simultaneous Quantification of Total Human and Human Male DNA and Detection of PCR Inhibitors in Biological Samples. J Forensic Sci, March 2009, Vol. 54, No. 2
Goodwin, W., et al. An Introduction to Forensic Denetics. Wiley 2007
Krenke, Benjamin E., et al. Developmental Validation of a Real-Time PCR Assay for the Simultaneous Quantification of Total Human and Male DNA. Forensic Science Internation: Genetics 3 (2008) 14-21
MUFSC analytical Procedures Manual. Quantitiation of DNA Extracts Using the PromegaPlexor®HY System.
Promega Corporation.Plexor®HY System for the Applied Biosystems 7500 and 7500 FAST Real-Time PCR Systems. Revised 11/07
Wilson, Johnathan Price. Developmental Validation of an Improved Multiplex Assay for Use in Forensic Casework: The Simultaneous Gender-Typing and Quantification of Total Human and Male-Only DNA Within Forensic Samples. 06/08
Separation of Adhesive Tapes from Various Surfaces Using Three Different Techniques
Amanda Wilson is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She is a graduate of IUPUI where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She is currently working towards her Master’s degree in Forensic Science with emphases in Chemistry and Crime Scene Investigation. This summer, Amanda did her internship with the Huntington Police Department looking at different methods of separating adhesive tapes from various surfaces and developing latent prints from the adhesive side of the tape.
This study investigates the use of three techniques to separate adhesive tapes from various surfaces. The techniques employed were a freezing technique, heating with a steam iron, and the application of Un-du. A fingerprint was added to the adhesive side of four different types of tapes and then added to either paper, plastic, wood, or another adhesive surface. After a time period of 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 weeks the tapes were removed using one of the three techniques. Latent prints were developed off the adhesive side of the tape using either Wet Wop or Sticky Side Powder. All three techniques were effective in separating tape from paper and wood surfaces at all time periods. However, none of the techniques used were able to separate tape from plastic and adhesive surfaces.
Gardner, R. M. Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation. CRC Press: Boca Raton, 2005. 228- 246.
Molina, D. The Use of Un-du to Separate Adhesive Materials. J. For. Ident. 2006, 57 (5), 688-696.
Cramer, D.; Glass, K. Developing Latent Fingerprints on the Adhesive Side of Tape using a Freezing Technique. J. For. Ident. 2008, 58 (4), 419-423.
Perez-Avila, J. Latent Print Development under a Self-Adhesive Stamp. J. For. Ident. 2008, 58 (4), 429- 431.
Trozzi, T. A.; Schwartz, R. L.; Hollars, M. L. Processing Guide for Developing Latent Prints. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Laboratory division, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington D.C., 2001, 12-13.
Un-du® Adhesive Remover, Material Safety Data sheet, doumar Products, Inc., 1998.
Validation of GeneMapper® ID-X v 1.1.1 including a Time and Cost-based Comparison Study with GeneMapper® v 3.2.1
Cheryl Zakowski is from Worth, Illinois. She graduated from Saint Joseph’s College in Renssealer, Indiana with a degree in biochemistry. Cheryl is currently a forensic science master’s candidate at Marshall University where she is working on her degree in forensic science with emphasis in DNA analysis. She recently was hired with the Wisconsin Bureau of Justice and will be working in Milwaukee this June.
With the bottleneck of forensic DNA analysis moving from sample processing to data analysis, affective computer software is needed to decrease the amount of time and resources spent analyzing samples. Genemapper® ID-X v1.1.1 (GMIDX) was validated for use as a partial expert systems, utilizing the allelic ladder and control assessement tool for forensic DNA data analysis. A comparison of this software with Genemapper® ID v3.2.1 (GMID) and a time and cost evaluation were completed. The allelic ladders, controls and size standard assessment tools performed reliably and will be implemented. Identical results were obtained when analyzed using both programs. GMIDX allowed for more efficient data review. The Profile Comparison and Mixture Tool will be an aid to analysts.
Harbison, A., McCabe, B. Power, T. FaSTR DNA: A new expert system for forensic DNA Analysis. Forensic Sci Int 2008; 159-165
Lynch, KJ, Rodgers, FJ. Development of integrated criminal justice expert systems applications. Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Management Information Systems; 13 Aug 2002. Tuscon: Eller College of Management The University of Arizona.
Butler, J. M. Forensic DNA Typing, 2nd Edition, 2005.
Roby, R. Expert systems help laboratorys process DNA samples. NIJ Journal 2008; 16-19
Roby RK, Jones JP. Evaluating expert systems for forensic DNA laboratories. Forensic News. Foster City: Applied Biosystems, 2005
Applied Biosystems. Genemapper®ID-X v 1.0 Product Bulletin. Foster City, CA: Applied Biosystems. 2007.
The Migration of Ignitable Liquids in Pour Patterns on Carpet
Meggan Macomber is from the small town of Caledonia, MN. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Cornell College in Iowa in 2009. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Forensic Science, with emphases in Forensic Chemistry and Digital Forensics. Meggan completed her internship with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory in St. Paul, MN, working in the fire debris analysis lab.
When an ignitable liquid is used as an accelerant in a fire, a pattern is created where the ignitable liquid is poured. Arson investigators differ in opinion as to whether chances are better to detect any ignitable liquid residue at the center of a pour pattern or at the edge of the pour pattern where the fire is actually burning. In order to test the theories of edge versus center sampling, an experiment was designed to sample from the center to past the edge of a pour pattern in carpet samples that varied from unburned to burned until self-extinguishment. One quart of gasoline was poured on each of five two-foot by two-foot squares of carpet prior to burning. Samples were taken in four directions and extracted with n-pentane for analysis by GC/MS.
The peak area of 2-methylnaphthalene, a compound found in gasoline, was compared with the peak area of 3-phenyltoluene as an internal standard in order to find the ratio between the two. The ratios were then compared to ratios of 2-methylnapthalene/3-phenyltoluene for known concentrations of neat gasoline in order to approximate the amount of gasoline in that sample. The trendlines for each of the carpet squares suggest that the best place to sample is from the center out to approximately 10 cm (4 in).
Stauffer, E.; Dolan, J.A.; Newman, R. Fire Debris Analysis. Boston: Academic Press, 2008.
American Society for Testing and Materials. E 1386-00 Standard Practice for Separation and Concentration of Ignitable Liquid Resides from Fire Debris Samples by Solvent Extraction. June 2005.
O’Donnell, J.F. The sampling of burned areas for accelerant residue analysis. The Fire and Arson Investigator 1985 June; 35(4):18-20.
Comparison of Room Temperature Forensic DNA Extract Sample Preservation Methods
Kevin Kramer is from Delphos, OH. He graduated from The University of Findlay in 2008 where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science with an emphasis in DNA and Serology and minors in Biology and Chemistry. Kevin is currently a graduate student at Marshall University where he is studying Forensic Science with emphases in DNA analysis, forensic chemistry, computer forensics, and crime scene investigation. This summer, Kevin his completed internship at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center evaluating room temperature storage methods of DNA extracts for the West Virginia State Police.
In most cases, only a portion of the entire DNA extract volume is consumed during forensic analysis. Once extracted, the remaining DNA is typically stored in a refrigerator at 4ºC, a freezer at -20ºC or at -70ºC for long-term storage to avoid sample degradation. While these are acceptable DNA storage methods, use of refrigerators and freezers may be viewed as costly when factoring in the individual cost to purchase and maintain as well as energy and space requirements. The potential loss or degradation of evidentiary samples when such systems fail must also be taken into consideration as well as when refrigeration and/or freezers are not readily available. For these reasons, alternative room temperature biological evidence storage systems and methods are of interest to most forensic DNA units. This study evaluated three room temperature storage techniques which included; Whatman® Micro FTA cards, QIAsafe™ DNA Tubes, and sterile swabs. Swab samples were dried using the SafeSwab™ swab dryer, and a contamination study was conducted to ensure that the drying process would not cause cross contamination. All samples were extracted with Promega’s DNA IQ™ system on the BIOMEK® 3000 Laboratory Automation Workstation, quantified with Applied Biosystems Quantifiler Duo® Quantification Kit on Applied Biosystems 7500 Sequence Detection System, and amplified using Promega’s multiplex STR PowerPlex® 16 system and capillary electrophoresis run on ABI Prism® 3130xl Genetic Analyzer. Raw data from the 3130xl was analyzed using Genemapper® ID v3.2.1.
Observed Microscopic Changes of Bullets Fired from Barrels after Cleaning with Bore Brushes
Chris Kendrex is from Hammonton, NJ, and graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree and a concentration in Biochemistry in 2007. He is working towards a Master of Science in Forensic Science degree at Marshall University with emphases in DNA Analysis, Forensic Chemistry, Digital Forensics, and Crime Scene Investigation. This summer, Chris completed an internship in the Firearms and Toolmarks section of the Kentucky State Police Eastern Lab.
Although it is considered common knowledge that using steel bore brushes to clean firearm barrels may have potential to change the pattern individual characteristics, no documentation of the effect is to be found in the literature. In an effort to confirm this effect, several 9mm semiautomatic pistols were field-stripped and their barrels subjected to a simulation of long-term use of various bore brushes. The results demonstrated that metal bore brushes have an ability to affect the land impressions. In most instances this appears to be through erosion, as fine striations were broadened and lowered by smoothing or obliterated entirely. Coarse marks were less likely to be affected. While steel brushes were most effective, the effect was also observed after cleaning with bronze brushes. While all final test fires could still be matched to the initial test fires, fewer areas of good correspondence were observed, and often an easy match became a difficult one with only one or two lands having sufficient striations remaining. In addition, the effect appeared somewhat random, with unequal results on particular land impressions within the same barrel. It is conceivable that with some firearms, this change in the individualcharacteristics could render the entire bullet unmatchable to an earlier-fired bullet. Further research needs to be done to see what types of firearms are most affected by this technique and if there is any correlation between the method of barrel manufacture and how efficacious the bore brushes are at affecting the individual characteristics of the barrel.
Heard, B. Handbook of Firearms and Ballistics. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. West Sussex, England. 1997.
Hamby, J. Identification of Proectiles. AFTE Journal. October, 1974. Vol. 6, No. 5&6, Pg. 22.
Shem, R.J. and Striupaitis, PP. Comparison of 501 Consecutively Fired Bullets and Cartridge Cases from a 25 Caliber Raven Pistol. AFTE Journal. July 1983. Vol. 15, No. 3, Pg. 109.
Kirby, S.J. Comparison of 900 Consecutively Fired Bullets and Cartridge Cases from a 455 Caliber S & W Revolver. AFTE Journal. July 1983. Vol. 15, No. 3, 1983, Pg. 113.
Ogihara, Y. et al. Comparison of 5000 Consecutively Fired Bullets and Cartridge Cases from a 45 Caliber M1911A1 Pistol. AFTE Journal. July, 1983. Vol. 15, No. 3, Pg. 127.
Meyers, C. Some Basic Bullet Striae Considerations. AFTE Journal. Spring 2002. Vol. 34, No. 2, Pg. 158.
Nichols, R.G. Consecutive Matching Striae (CMS): Its Definition, Study and Application in the Discipline of Firearms and Tool Mark Identification. AFTE Journal. Summer, 2003. Vol. 35, No. 3, Pg. 298.
Nichols, R.G. Defending the Scientific Foundations of the Firearms and Tool Mark Identification Discipline: Responding to Recent Challenges. Journal of Forensic Sciences. May 2007. Vol. 52, Issue 3, Pg. 586.
Outsole Frequency Study of Suspect Shoe Impressions Compared to a Student Population
Jamie Johnson is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. She graduated from Baylor University in 2009 with a B.S. in forensic science and minors in chemistry and biology. She is a second-year graduate student in the Marshall University Forensic Science Program, completing emphases in crime scene investigation, computer forensics, and forensic chemistry.
The more frequent a shoe is in a given population means that there will be a larger suspect pool when making comparisons, as a greater number of shoes will share class characteristics. The purpose of this research was to determine the outsole frequency of suspect shoe impressions (from law enforcement agencies) compared to a student population (taken using the Identicator® LE-25 Inkless Foot/Shoe Print kit). The most frequent shoe among students was an Old Navy flip-flop, while the most frequent suspect shoe was a Nike Air Force 1. Based on this data, the frequency study should be done year-round. A general population frequency study should also be attempted to help link the two populations together.
Interpretation of Ignitable Liquid Residues in Fire Debris Analysis: Effects of Competitive Adsorption
Mandy Heeren is from Ida Grove, Iowa. She attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, where she graduated with her BS in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. She is currently attending Marshall University working toward a Master of Science Degree in Forensic Science, emphasizing in Forensic Chemistry, Crime Scene Investigation, and Computer Forensics. This summer she did her research in the forensic chemistry lab at the Marshall University Forensic Science Program.
The common practice utilized for analysis of ignitable liquids is the ASTM E1412 method, passive headspace concentration using activated charcoal strips and classifying with the E1618 method. One area for misinterpretation stems from problems associated with competitive adsorption. Whether due to the increased surface area after charring, or the similar components located on the activated charcoal strip and substrates, initial studies demonstrate that the total overall response of the chromatogram is indeed affected by the amount (percent weight loss) of charring on a substrate. Understanding the problems associated with this method will aid analysts in interpreting and classifying ignitable liquids.
Stauffer, E., Dolan, J.A., Newman, R., Fire Debris Analysis. Boston, MA: Academic Press, 2008.
Petraco, NDK; Gil, M; Pizzola, PA; Kubic, TA, Statistical Discrimination of Liquid Gasoline Samples from Casework. J Forensic Science 2008;53(5):1092-1101
ASTM E1618-06e1 Standard Test Method for Ignitable Liquid Residues in Extracts from Fire Debris Samples by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, ASTM Annual Book of Standard, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2009.
Kelly, R, Competitive Adsorption of Ignitable Liquids on Charred Wood. Am. Acad. of For Science, 62nd Annual Mtg, Seattle WA, Feb. 2010; Abstract A91.
ASTM 1412-07 Standard Practice for Separation of Ignitable Liquid Residues from Fire Debris Samples by Passive Headspace Concentration with Activate Charcoal, ASTM Annual Book of Standard, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2009
Anthony Eiler was born in East Ridge, TN. He completed his under graduate work at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he received a biology degree with a molecular concentration. Anthony is currently a master’s student at Marshall University in the Forensic science department and is working to complete four different emphasizes DNA Analysis, Forensic Chemistry, Digital Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation.
The Applied Biosystems®’s (AB) Yfiler® DNA amplification kit was internally validated at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) for the detection of male DNA. For the internal validation of Yfiler®, sensitivity, precision, mixture, probative/non-probative, and species cross reactivity studies were performed. The Yfiler® kit was shown to be precise and sensitive when a 0.8ng amplification target was used. The mixture study demonstrated male DNA can be detected in ratios of 1:5000 parts female DNA and confirmed the kit’s ability to detect multiple male profiles. The samples used in the probative/non-probative study successfully proved the kit’s ability to amplify forensic type samples. The species cross reactivity study proved human specificity. Pending the completion of the final review and signature of the technical leader, SLMPD will implement the Yfiler® kit for forensic casework usage.
Mulero, J. J. et al. 2006. Development and Validation of the AmpFLSTR Yfiler PCR Amplification Kit: A male specific, Single Amplification 17 Y-STR Multiplex System. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 51: 1.