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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 228524 Find in a Library
Title: Forensic Imaging-Guided Recovery of Nuclear DNA From the Spinal Cord
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:5  Dated:September 2009  Pages:1123-1126
Author(s): H. Theodore Harcke, M.D.; Timothy Monaghan, M.D.; Nicole Yee, B.S.; Louis Finelli, M.D.
Date Published: September 2009
Page Count: 4
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study documented the recovery of DNA from the spinal cord or surrounding dura mater in 11 cases of severely burned human remains.
Abstract: The study found that the spinal cord can be an accessible source of DNA that is comparable to tissue or organ samples when severe thermal effects produce charred remains of the lower torso. Processing time is faster than with bone. Radiographic imaging with computed tomography (CT) can guide the forensic pathologist to appropriate sites. The portion of the spinal cord sampled influenced the success in obtaining a full DNA profile. Dura mater (outer layer) yielded better results than the spinal cord medulla (inner layer). The spinal cord medulla samples produced the best profile when a diluted sample of the extract was used for PCR amplification, indicating that some type of PCR inhibitor is present in the spinal cord medulla extract. Neural tissue, although known to be a good source for nuclear DNA, is susceptible to degradation. Radiology has a long tradition of aiding identification of burn victims by demonstrating skeletal characteristics unique to the premortem radiographs of an individual. This report emphasizes the use of new postmortem imaging techniques for assisting forensic pathologists prior to physical autopsy. This report describes the authors’ experience in 11 cases of severely burned remains. The protocol for processing severely charred tissue remains at the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner was used in each case. 1 table, 3 figures, and 15 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Arson; DNA fingerprinting; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques; Victim identification
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