106th SEMI-ANNUAL SEMINAR (Fall 2005)
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINALISTS
October 11-15, 2005
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA
PROFICIENCY TESTING: THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
Peter D. Barnett - Forensic Science Associates
A recent trace evidence proficiency test resulted in a substantial number of the test takers failing, for one reason or another, to correctly identify one of the two questioned samples. The sample that was the same as the exemplar sample was correctly identified by essentially all participants, but the second sample, which was different than the exemplar sample, was either not identified or incorrectly identified by approximately 30% of the participants. One participant in this proficiency exercise commented in the response form that the fiber could not be identified because the laboratory did not have an appropriate reference sample. This response was considered by the laboratory director to be "significant discrepancy" that required a notice be sent to the local prosecuting authority characterizing the "discrepancy" as a "Brady Issue." The laboratory reviewers who approved the analyst's work were explicitly absolved of any responsibility by the laboratory director. As a consequence, the analyst was removed from casework, required to take further proficiency tests, subjected to having his reports co-signed by other analysts after being returned to duty, and, presumably, permanently placed on the prosecuting authority's "Brady list." Once a witness has been labeled with the "Brady" pejorative, prosecuting attorneys have a personal ethical obligation to advice defense counsel of that fact in all cases where that witness might be called to testify. Do the facts in this case require such a response from the laboratory director? Do the case reviewers bear any responsibility in this situation? What are the consequences of the "Brady" label? Given the same set of facts, would all analysts be subject to such disciplinary action?
CSI CASE STUDY: THE EXPLODING VENDING MACHINE
Bob Blackledge - Naval Criminal Investigative Service Regional Forensic Laboratory
In January of this year I received a phone call from an NCIS Special Agent in Okinawa. At about 0900 (Okinawa time), a dry goods (snacks) vending machine exploded in an employee break area of a base garage. At the time of the explosion, an employee (who received minor injuries) was apparently inserting a dollar bill into the machine. The explosion had not been an insignificant little "pop." The machine's door had been hurled some 20 to 30 feet away, and machine parts and snacks were all over the floor in front of the machine. The agent was requesting guidance on how to process the scene. After some discussion I recommended that he treat it as he would a suspected arson scene, i.e. - all of the collected physical evidence should be sealed in airtight containers. I also requested that he send me copies of all photographs taken at the scene. Later, a maintenance manual for that vending machine model was obtained. Several things in this case turned out to be "red herrings." 1) The machine had been serviced the previous day and the dollar bill inserted by the victim was the only one in the machine's cash box. 2) The victim claimed that he had inserted a dollar bill into the machine and successfully obtained a candy bar. He said he then decided to get another candy bar, but this time the machine rejected his dollar. He said he used his cigarette lighter to smooth the wrinkles in the bill, and that when he reinserted the bill the lighter was still in his hand and that's when the explosion occurred. 3) A label for a commercial insecticide was found amongst the machine debris. The island has a considerable insect problem. In a cabinet in the same room as the vending machine were numerous brands of commercial insecticides, including several whose contents were flammable or were in aerosol cans having an isobutane (or other flammable gas) propellant. A vending machine company representative told me that they had had previous cases where individuals had placed commercial insecticides inside the machines. 4) Among the snack products available were various types of chips, and numerous chip pieces were found in the product receptacle. 5) In an adjacent room was a portable oxy/acetylene torch. This presentation will show you the scene photographs and take you through the investigative/analytical process followed by me, and will conclude with the case's eventual resolution.
Janis Cavanaugh - La Puente Valley Regional Occupational Program, Public Safety Department / Forensic Science Academy
Forensic evidence and its credibility: An examination of employee certification and crime lab accreditation. The field of forensic science has been on a voluntary basis when it comes to individual certification and lab accreditation. It is not mandatory for the individual to be certified or the facility to be accredited. With the increase courtroom dismissal of improperly handled evidence, important cases are in the hands of whether or not the individual collected the evidence properly and whether the lab processed the evidence in accordance to a set of accredited standards. Does the accreditation and certification process add to the conviction rate of cases? Do certified employees collect evidence more precisely? Does the accredited lab process evidence with additional effectiveness and efficiency? Standardized methods of training leading to credentialing can provide significant results if these measures are adhered to and regulated by an agency that has a stake in the outcome.
THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT
Nand Hart-Nibbrig - Los Angeles Police Department, Scientific Investigation Division; Eucen Fu - Los Angeles County Coroner's Office
Antron Singleton, a 25 year old, up and coming rap musician, sometimes called "Big Lurch", was in Los Angeles to record a new Rap Music album. While in L.A., he stayed at an acquaintance's apartment, where he smoked phencyclidine (PCP) with some acquaintances. Some time later he was observed by police officers walking naked down Figueroa Blvd covered with blood. The police detained him and learned that a homicide had just been committed. He was transported to a local hospital for evaluation due to his bizarre behavior and later pumped of his stomach contents for analysis. Investigation at the acquaintance's apartment revealed not only that a homicide had taken place, but that the female victim had been eviscerated and partially cannibalized. LA Coroner Criminalist, Eucen Fu and LAPD Criminalist, Nand Hart-Nibbrig, in a collaborative effort will present an expose on multiple aspects of this case from crime scene blood stain pattern analysis to toxicology and autopsy findings, and lastly, the trial leading to conviction. A brief televised news segment offers some insight into this unusual killer.
MURDER AND MOLECULES: FORENSIC SCIENCE IN MYSTERY FICTION
Harold Goldwhite, PhD - Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Cal State, Los Angeles
A brief illustrated history of mystery fiction in the past two centuries will focus on the role played by forensic science. In a number of instances in the past, mystery authors have anticipated the introduction of forensic methods by police departments. Initial interest in forensics on the part of authors during the period covered was followed by a period of relative neglect of forensics in mystery fiction. The past few decades have seen a rekindling of this interest not only in books but also in scripts for television. Mystery and other fiction may be a source of new directions for forensic science in the future.
BLACK DAHLIA INVESTIGATION 1947-2005
Steve Hodel - Retired LAPD Homicide Detective / Author
Presenter is the author of the international bestseller, Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius For Murder. Published in 2003, the book presents the author's investigation and findings relating to the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, better known to the world as the Black Dahlia. The author will detail his investigation with special emphasis on the forensics of the case, followed by an opportunity for questions and answers. Steve Hodel was also a 24 year veteran of the LAPD. He retired as a Detective III in 1986 after serving 17 years in Hollywood Division Homicide.
IDENTIFICATION, ISOLATION AND EXAMINATION OF TRYPTAMINES FAMILY OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
Javed Khan - California Department of Justice Riverside
Tryptamine comes in a natural and synthetic form. Some analogs of tryptamine are natural and some are synthetic. Natural tryptamine analogs like psilocyn and psilocybin are found in psychoactive mushrooms. Bufotenine is found in the skin glands of toads. Bufotenine has also been isolated from Amanita-a mushroom - commonly known as a toadstool. The drugs in this family are occasionally submitted to the forensic laboratories. Abuse of the tryptamine is on the rise among college kids in the USA.
DNA FOR DUMMIES: AN INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC DNA ANALYSIS
Harry Klann, Jr. - Los Angeles Police Department, Criminalistics Laboratory
I intend to present a brief introduction to forensic DNA typing using Short Tandem Repeats (STRs). The topics to be discussed will include the objectives of forensic DNA testing, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the ABI PRISM 310 Genetic Analyzer, STR data, and the calculation of the population statistic. I will also mention a few common STR artifacts such as "minus A", "stutter", and "pull-up". Atypical DNA mixture profile will be displayed along with an electropherogram depicting the appearance of degraded or trace sample profiles. Two electropherograms, one from a murder case and one from a paternity case will be displayed and explained. CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System will be mentioned, and LAPD "cold hit" statistics will be presented. Specialized DNA typing techniques such as mitochondrial DNA, Y-STRs, and Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) will be given an honorable mention.
FORENSICS IN TELEVISION
D.P. Lyle MD - Technical Consultant and Author, Matt Witten -Writer and Supervising Producer for Television
How does Hollywood get it right - and how does Hollywood get it wrong? How does a writer reach out for the expert help he needs - and how does the expert manage to keep a straight face while answering silly questions? TV writer Matt Witten (House, Law & Order, and CSI: Miami) and forensic consultant Dr. Doug Lyle (author of Forensics for Dummies) will reveal how writers and consultants work together to craft a believable story.
CSI: VEGAS/MIAMI/NEW YORK - MAKING FRIENDS WITH THE ENEMY
David Miranda - Forensic Specialist/Crime Scene Instructor, Pasadena Police Department
We already know the problems that these very popular TV shows have caused the forensic industry in terms of new and unrealistic levels of expectation. We've seen the negative effects at crime scenes (victims and witnesses), in the courtroom (juries and savvy defense attorneys), and even, at times, within our own departments. Despite all of this, there are positive aspects that we may be missing and, consequently, not using to the benefit of our industry and our situations. Since we cannot control what is produced in the entertainment world, we can learn to make friends with it. It is the intent of this presentation to provide some practical examples of this approach as well as stimulate thinking for other approaches to this thorny issue.
MEDICAL EXAMINER: DEALING WITH HIGH PROFILE CASES - REVIEW OF THE PAST AND VALUABLE LESSONS
Thomas T. Noguchi, MD - University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles
- Medical Examiner in a high profile case - Analyze multiple factors involved in success of the outcome, such as scientific aspect, evidence handling, scene investigation, timing of action, media relations, resources allocation, assignment of personnel, leadership in crisis management of unanticipated events.
- Issues of development of new concepts such as the extension of suicide prevention program to looking into clues for "cry for help" as applied to the death investigation of Marilyn Monroe case.
- There was a series of emotional and heated community pressures on police involved deaths in the Watts riots in 1965 and mid 1970's, and in the case of the death in jail of a popular college football player, Ron Settle.
- Issues on communication to the public through the media: Deaths of William Holden and Natalie Wood, the Media, Paparazzi and the Medical Examiner. In high profile cases, every step will be re-examined and challenged, and overall outcome may be affected, even though the scientific aspect has been handled properly and correctly. It is of importance for the administration to be in a position to support all phases of the operation. A knowledgeable and media skilled person should be assigned to handle public information. In high profile cases, every action will be magnified by the press, for getting an exclusive story or a scoop is the life of the news people. One cardinal rule is "no exclusive" dissemination of information. Information should be released in a timely fashion at a press conference open to all the press. Establishing a relationship of trust and cooperation with the media is essential.
- Conspiracy buffs on legendary cases: There are groups of enthusiastic contrarians pursuing the story of Robert Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. The talk will be complimented with some illustrative materials.
THE FLAWS AND AMBIGUITIES OF THE INSTANT SHOOTER IDENTIFICATION (ISID-1) KIT
Robby Sinick - Forensic Science Associates
The "Instant Shooter Identification Kit" (ISID-1) is designed, according to the manufacturer's promotional literature, to "[Help] law enforcement to quickly determine who has fired a weapon while in the field—yields result in about five minutes!" The ISID-1 kit is based on a combination of two techniques - a chemical test for nitrates and nitrites and an electron microscope examination for characteristic particles produced during the discharge of a firearm. The manufacturer's literature extols the virtue of this approach as "Effective! Two Tests in One Kit" so that "Results obtained in field yield investigative data" and "When desired, positive test results can be delivered to Crime Lab for SEM [scanning electron microscopy] test, which can provide evidentiary data."
The chemical test for gun shot residue that gives a "positive return" is based on the chemical reaction of diphenylamine with nitrates and nitrates (constituents of nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose which are components of gunpowder). When combined with acid, diphenylamine reacts with nitrates or nitrites to produce a blue color. This test was first described over 70 years ago, and was traditionally referred to as the "dermal nitrate" or "paraffin" test. Despite concerns about the value of the test due to the possibility of false positive reactions (e.g., a positive test result from something other than gun shot residue) and false negative reactions (e.g., a negative result from the hands of a person who recently discharged a firearm), this test was used by law enforcement for many years, but by the mid 1960s the test was found to be so inherently unreliable that its use was abandoned. The ISID-1 kit provides nothing to remedy the unreliability of this procedure. A case example will be used to illustrate the danger of promoting and selling these kits to law enforcement agencies.
WHAT THE PLANT?
Rima Soury - Investigative Assistant (Intern) & Master's Degree Student
Plants? Why plants? Because plants talk just like a "perp" does in the interrogation room! Believe it or not plants are evidentiary tools and sometimes they are used as weapons. It might be easy to see how a plant can be used as a weapon, especially in cases involving drugs & poisons. Why should we collect plant traces? What do they look like? Where do we find the evidence? More importantly what will plant traces reveal? Learn how different traces of plant evidence can be used and tested in the laboratory. Plants can help you "crack a case" from kidnapping to plane crashes. Find out how!
FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF AUTOMOTIVE LIGHT BULBS
John C. Steiner - KEVA Engineering, LLC
The forensic analysis of aviation and automotive crashes has provided a wealth of information and research into the response of incandescent filaments to impact. This research has been fueled by the need to understand the condition of warning lights, headlights, taillights, and brake/hazard lighting. Heated tungsten filaments respond differently to impact than cold filaments. This simple observation provides a wealth of knowledge to the forensic investigator.
Variables that must be accounted for in the analysis of filaments include lighting type, lighting location, flashing light frequency, impact severity and impact orientation. This presentation will review the background, science and application of light filament analysis in an automotive impact environment. Investigative examination and testing will be discussed. Additionally, emerging technologies such as modern LED lighting will also be discussed.
DNA TESTING PROBLEMS IN TEXAS AND VIRGINIA
William C. Thompson - University of California, Irvine
In 2002 a television news investigation exposed serious problems with the DNA testing procedures of the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory. After an external audit confirmed deficiencies in the lab's procedures, the police department shut down the serology and DNA sections of the lab pending a sweeping management reorganization. Subsequent investigations have uncovered two cases in which innocent men were convicted based on botched work by the DNA/serology section. Retesting of nearly 400 cases has revealed many discrepancies between HPD's reported test results and subsequent STR tests on the same samples. An outside investigative team has recently reported instances of "dry-labbing" (i.e. falsification of lab results), incompetence and error in other units of the laboratory. The DNA/serology unit is still off-line while investigations continue.
In 2004, Forensic Science Associates produced STR test results in the high-profile Virginia case of Earl Washington, Jr. that contradicted previous STR test results of the Virginia Division of Forensic Sciences (DFS). After several independent experts and an ASCLD-LAB audit team concluded that the DFS results were incorrect, and that DFS analyst Jeffrey Ban had followed incorrect procedures, Virginia's governor ordered a more extensive review of the lab's DNA casework by an independent panel. The state legislature also approved an independent oversight committee. Meanwhile, journalistic investigations have uncovered apparently serious problems with the DNA evidence used to obtain convictions in several additional capital cases.
The author of this presentation was involved in the journalistic investigations of DNA testing problems in both Texas and Virginia. He will present examples of problematic DNA casework, will discuss underlying institutional and management problems that allowed bad work to occur, and will draw lessons from these scandals for improving forensic science practices.
WHO WAS REALLY BEHIND THE WHEEL? A CASE STUDY IN ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION
Michael S. Varat - KEVA Engineering, LLC
The evaluation of an automotive crash requires a careful analysis of causal factors. These factors may include seat belt use, driver inattention, excessive speed and driver impairment from alcohol or drugs. Before beginning to evaluate these complex issues, the analyst must have other, more elementary facts determined. For example, the type of car, the date of the accident and the time of day are all generally assumed to be known. When there are multiple occupants in the car, it is also usually known who was driving and who was a passenger. But what happens when you don't know who was driving? What happens when there are no independent witnesses? What happens when two people claim to be the passenger because of a desire to escape legal liability? It is at this point that the forensic investigator must step in and perform a detailed analysis of the injuries, the vehicle dynamics (motions), the occupant dynamics and the entire accident sequence in order to determine occupant seating locations. The present research demonstrates a case study in the determination of driver identification through the use of forensic investigative techniques. Vehicle dynamics, vehicle damage, occupant kinematics, injury patterns are all utilized to arrive at the answer to the question: Who was driving?
REINVESTIGATION OF THE SHOOTING AT COLUMBINE HS
John San Agustin, Inspector, El Paso Co. SO, Colorado Springs, CO
(No abstract available)
OVERALL ASPECTS IN THE JON BENET RAMSEY MURDER CASE
John San Agustin, Inspector, El Paso Co. SO, Colorado Springs, CO
(No abstract available)
BOMBING CRIME SCENE CONCERNS
Paul Robi, Det., LAPD, Los Angeles, CA 90065
(No abstract available)
EVOLUTION OF CRIMINALISTICS: FACT VS FICTION
Peter R. Deforest, D. Crim. , Professor of Criminalistics, John Jay College of Crim Just., CUNY
(No abstract available)
A DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S PERSPECTIVE OF THE ANDREW LUSTER CASE
Anthony Wold, Dep Dist Atty., Ventura Co DA's Office
(No abstract available)
ABC 2007: THE NEW LOOK OF CERTIFICATION
Greg Matheson, LAPD
(No abstract available)
STRATEGIES FOR OVERCOMING PCR INHIBITION
Brian Burritt and Adam Dutra, San Diego Police Department
In this presentation, we will present strategies used at the San Diego Police Department to minimize the effects of inhibition in DNA testing. These include techniques to prevent the occurrence of inhibition and to recognize it and respond to it when it does occur. Two cases with several samples that were inhibited, then rehabilitated, will be discussed. In addition, we will discuss a presentation from the previous CAC meeting in which the conclusion by the presenter that a partial DNA profile was the result of degradation, and not inhibition, led to the implication of negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the casework analyst. We believe, based on a large and growing body of data, that nothing improper took place.
DNA EXTRACTION OF SEMINAL FLUID FROM ORAL SWABS
Jamie Daughetee, Los Angeles Sheriff's Department
Biological evidence associated with criminal activity can be collected from various sources, subsequently identified, and genetically profiled. Thus, in sexual assault cases, sites on the body, such as the mouth, are sampled and examined for the presence of spermatozoa. The identification and individualization of spermatozoa in these samples can corroborate the victim's account of the crime and lead to the identification of the perpetrator.
The stability of biological samples is affected by the activities of the victim and environmental conditions. In addition, detection and recovery of spermatozoa from oral swabs can be problematic, particularly with a lengthy post-copulation time interval.
Until recently, controlled studies have not been performed on the recovery and quantification of spermatozoa from the oral cavity in living individuals. The present study was de- signed to evaluate the recovery of spermatozoa (dependent variable) with respect to time of collection post-copulation and the recipient's oral activity (independent variables).
A total of 24 oral cavity swabbings, from 5 heterosexual couples were collected at three post-copulation intervals: initial (0), 6 hours, and 12 hours. The samples were categorized by post-copulation interval of collection: initial (0 hours), 6 hours, and 12 hours. The samples were first examined by bright field microscopy at 200X and 400X magnification as Christmas Tree stained preparations. A differential extraction was subsequently preformed on the samples with the BioRobot EZ1, and the samples were later quantified with RT-PCR and STR typed by capillary electrophoresis.
Spermatozoa were recovered and successfully profiled in 33. 3% of the 24 oral swabs, and all of the sperm-positive samples were from the time zero collection period. None of the 6 or 12 hour samples yielded sperm or male STR profiles. However, Y chromosome quantitation analysis did give positive results for two 12 hour samples, in addition to all of the time zero samples. Finally, the results of this study indicate that the post-copulation time interval and the oral activity of the sperm-recipient have significant effects on the recovery and STR typing.
INTRODUCTION TO THE FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF HUMAN ABORTION PRODUCTS AND FECAL MATTER
Donald J. Johnson, California State University, Los Angeles, School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics
The purpose of this presentation is to provide the participant with an overview on the forensic analysis of human abortion products and fecal matter.
Human abortion products and fecal matter have been encountered in criminal investigations over the decades. Until recently, however, the significance of this evidence was lessened because of the poor discrimination offered by available typing methods.
In the case of abortion products, current methods now allow for the relatively simple extraction, typing, and parentage testing of nuclear DNA from embryonic and fetal tissue. However, difficulties often arise in the ability to identify and recover maternal and prenatal tissue from the abortion products. To this end, a review of developmental anatomy and physiology will be presented as relevant to forensic casework. The evidentiary value of the afterbirth will also be discussed. Casework examples will be provided to reinforce basic concepts and principles.
Recent technological advances have also allowed for the relatively simple extraction and purification of nuclear DNA from human feces. In this part of the presentation, a review on the formation and composition of human fecal matter will be provided as relevant to forensic issues. The results of a validation study on the forensic use of the QIAGEN QIAamp® Stool Mini Kit will additionally be presented. Casework examples will be provided for illustration.
THE USE OF AUTOSOMAL AND Y-CHROMOSOME SNPs ON FORENSICALLY RELEVANT SAMPLES: SUCCESS WITH SNPs WHERE STRs HAVE FAILED
Esperanza Anguiano*, Cynthia Smitherman, Phuong Nguyen, Robert Giles, and Jeanine Baisch, Orchid Cellmark Inc.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) provide powerful genetic information for forensic identification applications, genealogical analyses, and medical diagnostics. With the increasing need in the scientific community to identify forensically relevant samples, for which standard STR testing is inconclusive, Orchid Cellmark Inc. has developed an assay that provides both Y chromosome and autosomal SNP testing for human identification. The assay utilizes multiplexed PCR in conjunction with SNP-IT™, Orchid's proprietary single base primer extension technology. This multiplex assay can be run either on an automated, ultra-high throughput system called SNPStream® UHT or using ABI's SNaPshot®™ assay format on capillary electrophoresis. Specifically, extensive validation assays have been performed on a robust panel of 144 autosomal SNP markers (including amelogenin) and 89 Y chromosome SNP markers (including amelogenin). A database has been generated with the autosomal SNP markers, and sensitivity studies indicate that these markers perform well with <80pg of input DNA. Thus, this hearty autosomal SNP panel would be extremely useful for identification of forensically relevant specimens. Furthermore, the Y chromosome SNP panel is also sensitive with <80pg input DNA; and a Y-SNP database has been generated establishing haplotype and haplogroup frequencies for the major U.S. population groups. In summary, the Y-SNP panel in conjunction with the autosomal SNP panel provides a powerful tool that will enable laboratories to associate a forensic sample with a unique population group and/or establish identity.
DNA TYPING AND THE FAMILIES OF THE ASOCIACIÒN PRO-BÙSQUEDA DE NIÑAS Y NIÑOS DESAPARECIDOS IN EL SALVADOR
Nicole Inacio*, Cristian Orrego, Brian Harmon, & Lance Gima, CA Dept. of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory
In the early 1980's, a violent twelve yearlong civil war surged throughout the country of El Salvador. As a result, many children were taken by the military and brought to orphanages or given to top military officials often with scarce documentation. Many of these children, now young adults, are still alive. In 1994, the non-governmental human rights organization Asociaciòn Pro-Bùsqueda (Pro-Search Association) de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos (of Disappeared Children) was established to assist the families in El Salvador looking for their children. In the fall of 2003, Lance Gima, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Forensic Services, California Department of Justice (CAL DOJ) and Criminalist Cristián Orrego established a collaboration with the Human Rights Center (HRC) at the University of California, Berkeley and the Boston-based group, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to assist Pro-Bùsqueda, founded by Father Jon de Cortina, to develop and implement procedures for collecting DNA samples (buccal) from the registered families.
In April 2004, a team of volunteers from the BFS, CAL DOJ and from PHR, traveled to El Salvador to assist Pro-Bùsqueda with this task. The team was composed of Bureau Chief Lance Gima, Criminalists Lara el Khazen (Santa Barbara Laboratory), Nicole Inacio and Brian Harmon (both from the Jan Bashinski DNA Lab), and forensic anthropologist Ms. Henriette Stratmann, along with computer scientist Mr. Lorenz Kenter (both based in the Netherlands and affiliated with the Forensic Program of PHR). The team provided Pro-Bùsqueda with training on procedures for collecting DNA samples and on the implementation of software specifically designed with Pro-Bùsqueda to store the information obtained from the family interviews. The team collectively developed a process from sample collection and eventual kinship analysis consisting of four phases.
Phase One is the interview and sample collection of approximately 1,300 family members, from 721 requests (496 registered families), and entry of the information from the interviews into the database. This phase is to be completed by the end of 2005, with 694 samples collected to date.
Phase Two is DNA analysis of the samples, conducted by qualified volunteers at the CAL DOJ Jan Bashinski DNA Lab with the permission of the Office of the Attorney General Bill Lockyer and with materials and reagents costs funded from grants received from HRC and PHR (152 samples typed to date).
Phase Three is the construction of a DNA database, which will be the exclusive property of Pro-Bùsqueda. This phase includes the training of a scientist affiliated with Pro-Bùsqueda on computational kinship analysis using DNA-VIEW, the software package designed by Forensic Mathematician Dr. Charles Brenner. In the meantime, in late August of 2004, volunteers from the Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory received training on DNA-VIEW from Dr. Brenner, with particular emphasis on running kinship simulations to determine the best choice of relatives, of those available to collect from, who would be the most informative to analyze. This training has allowed the CAL DOJ team to provide Pro-Bùsqueda with ongoing decisions on collection strategy given a certain family composition, which eventually could best match a child to a family, should that child become available for DNA typing.
Phase Four is the Missing Children Sample Analysis, which includes searching for and reporting kinship matches using the database of family profiles. Should a match be recorded, the Pro-Bùsqueda scientist will evaluate the match and write a report.
The goal of this collaboration is to work directly with the relatives of the victims and human rights organizations in their efforts to reunite families. This collaboration may provide a guide for volunteer work from the forensic science community to assist families searching for their loved ones torn apart from war, and still in fear or distrust of their government.
MITOCHONDRIAL DNA TYPING OF THE HVI/HVII REGION USING LINEAR ARRAYS
Katherine A. Roberts, California State University, Los Angeles (School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics)
This presentation will discuss the forensic applications of mitochondrial DNA typing using the LINEAR ARRAY mtDNA HVI/HVII Region-Sequence Typing Kit. Sample amplification and quantitation procedures will be addressed, followed by an overview of the LINEAR ARRAY typing process. The interpretation of the typing results will be reviewed, including potential sources of multiple sequences (contamination, heteroplasmy, and cross-hybridization). The presentation will conclude with a discussion on troubleshooting issues.
VALIDATION OF THE 7500 REAL-TIME PCR SYSTEM AND 3130 SERIES SYSTEM UPGRADES FOR USE IN FORENSIC LABORATORIES
Yurah Yen*, Michael J. Cassel, Eric M. Tam, Laura C. Post, Erica B. Currie-Fraser, Ariana M. Wheaton, Beth Ladin, Lisa M. Calandro, Applied Biosystems, Inc.
The goal of this presentation is to summarize the experiments conducted by Applied Biosystems documenting the validations of the 7500 Real-Time PCR System with v1.2.3 software using the Quantifiler™ Human DNA Quantification kit and the Quantifiler™ Y Human Male DNA Quantification kit and the 3130 Series System Upgrades for use in human identity laboratories. Validation of the 7500 Real-Time PCR System was carried out according to the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) guidelines and focused on instrument performance parameters relevant to the intended use of the Quantifiler Human Kit and Quantifiler Human Y kit assays. The validation studies assessed precision and accuracy, reproducibility and sensitivity, and background. The data generated in the validation studies demonstrates that the 7500 Real- Time PCR System provides accurate results when used in conjunction with the Quantifiler™ kits for the analysis of genomic DNA samples and produces results which are statistically similar to the results produced on the previously validated ABI PRISM® 7000 Sequence Detection System. The 3130 and 3130xl instruments incorporate an automated polymer delivery system that eliminates the need for syringe filling, maintenance, and clean up, facilitating faster turn around times. Additional features of the 3130 instrument series include Windows XP® support providing improved operating system security and reliability and enhanced data collection software with helpful wizards streamlining setup and maintenance. The 3130 Series System Upgrades allow users to add the hardware and software features of the 3130 series to their existing 3100-Avant or 3100 instruments. Additionally, users may upgrade the 4-capillary 3130 instrument to a 16-capillary 3130xl instrument allowing increased throughput. Validation studies utilizing the AmpFLSTR® Profiler Plus™ (4-dye) and the AmpFLSTR Identifiler® (5-dye) PCR Amplification Kits on the upgraded instruments are presented here. These validation studies included comparisons of sizing precision, peak resolution, sensitivity, and male:female mixtures before and after performing the upgrades. Data will be shown that demonstrate the ability of the 3130 series system upgrades to produce reliable and reproducible results with the types of samples routinely encountered in the human identification laboratory.
PROMEGA'S INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR AUTOMATION IN FORENSIC LABORATORIES
Matt Seliga*, Benjamin E. Krenke, Michael Bjerke, Kimberly Huston, Curtis Knox, Promega Corporation
After attending this presentation, the participant will have an understanding about several new approaches to automation in a forensic laboratory.
Automated workstations have proven their utility for processing sample backlogs for offender databases. These systems can be optimized for many sample types. The varied sample quality and amount encountered in casework presents additional challenges in automated sample processing. Additionally, contamination concerns restrict the flexibility of robotic systems and require extensive validation. This presentation will discuss advances in developing an automated DNA Isolation and PCR setup system. In addition, improvements for automated DNA extraction, quantitation and data analysis using the Beckman Coulter Biomek® 3000 Workstation, the MAXWELL™ 16 System, the Slicprep™ 96 Device, Plexor™ qPCR System and the FSS-i3™ Expert Systems Software will be described.