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Posts Tagged ‘DNA Samples’

Pearl Harbor: DNA Testing Brings Hope To Missing Soldiers’ Families

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:57 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack that decimated the US Pacific Fleet. Of the ships that were attacked few sank as fast or as completely as the Oklahoma, which listed and capsized within minutes after a rapid series of direct torpedo strikes.

Survivors from the Oklahoma described a surreal scene below deck of sloshing water and fuel oil, men trying to climb from the darkness through hatches, beating their way out with tools. Hundreds remained trapped in interior compartments. Of the dead on the Oklahoma, 36 were easily recovered and identified. The remainder were not able to be identified and were interred in communal caskets.

Approximately 74,000 soldiers from World War II still remain unaccounted for. About one-quarter of those are considered recoverable by the military’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the Hawaii organization that has relied on scientific and geopolitical changes to identify more than 600 long-lost MIAs since 2003.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s military and civilian teams have tracked down aircraft wrecks and burial sites in remote locations, exhumed remains, and analyzed bone fragments and bits of material at the world’s largest forensic anthropology lab. They work with casualty offices from each branch to find survivors and collect DNA samples for matching. For each name, the military tries to locate at least two relatives who share a long-lasting form of DNA passed along maternal lines.

In Hawaii, Greg Berg, the forensic anthropologist who manages the joint command’s Central Identification Laboratory, cautions that the work to identify remains could take years, the process he warns is complicated by commingling of remains which is far more extensive than expected. Only five people have been definitively identified since 2003.

Still, “the commingling problems are not insurmountable, and [we are] confident in our abilities to eventually bring about case resolution,’’ Berg said by e-mail.

For more see: Boston Globe

If you enjoyed this story you might also enjoy: Dog Tages Out DNA Profiles In‪ ‬

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DNA Proves Dog Belongs To Worried Couple

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:39 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

February 20th was a big day for Darlene and Cliff Ryckman.  It was the day when they got back their missing dog Molly.  Molly the Shih Tzu made it home because of DNA testing which was completed by local police.

In an unusual case that spanned nearly a year, DNA sample were taken to prove that Molly belonged to Cliff and Darlene Ryckman.

Molly had no microchip and no tattoo, so when the tiny dog went missing last year the Ryckmans were at a loss to prove the identity of the dog they had raised from birth.  Even though they found out who in the neighborhood had taken her in.

Darlene, said ”I thought you know what, they do it on humans, they got to do it on animals,” when asked where shy got the idea to preform a DNA test on Molly.

The Ryckmans also own Molly’s sire, Howey, and had the DNA paternity test done to compare genetic material between the two. In all three test were performed on each dog.

The stressful year started last March 4 when the two dogs were let out into the back yard of the family’s home.  The gate wasn’t quite shut, and the two dogs started to chase a cat and the next thing Darlene knew, she couldn’t find Molly.

“I prayed every day,” she said. “I went to a psychic. I put it in The Spectator.”  Darlene also put an announcement on local TV, got the word out at some schools and put up flyers.

Almost right after Molly went missing, a woman responded to the flyers Darlene had posted.  She said had seen two people in the neighborhood pick up a Shih Tzu and take it into an apartment building.  Cliff, tracked down a specific apartment, and was told by a woman there that they did not have Molly.

The Ryckmans weren’t convinced and they were persistent with police.  Eventually they ended up face-to-face with the people who had picked up Molly on the street when they were out with Molly.  Darlene said of the encounter, “Seeing Molly just walking away from me … she was going nuts when she seen me and my husband, and I just broke down because I couldn’t take my dog and these people wouldn’t give me my dog back.”

Cliff said the whole situation was very upsetting for the couple.  He said,”It upset me to go to work because my wife would be crying everyday.”

But finally, after much determination and pursuing Molly through three moves by the people who had Molly, the Ryckmans paid $110 for DNA tests for the two dogs.  Constable Annette Huys, one of two officers working on the case, took the DNA samples.  Huys said, “I’d just come out of the forensic unit, so I was used to collecting lots of DNA, but not necessarily from dogs.”  Huys said unfortunately everybody had fallen in love with the Molly and it didn’t matter which side police dealt with, they were always crying when it came to talking about the Molly.

It took about two weeks for the samples to come back a match. Molly was returned to her the Ryckmans on February 20th.

Staff Sergeant Jack Langhorn called the entire case including taking doggy DNA “extremely unusual.” He said, “It was a unique situation … It wouldn’t be something that we’re going to do on a regular basis.”

Darlene said she’s grateful to the two officers who worked on the case and that, she’ll be getting Molly microchiped shortly.

The Hamilton Spectator

Dog DNA

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Proving the Death of Osama Bin Laden Through DNA Testing

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:31 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When President Obama announced Sunday evening, May 1st,  that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a United States military operation, many wanted physical proof that the person killed and taken into custody was in fact Mr. Osama Bin Laden.

At this time reports are confirming 3 ways the remains were identified: 1) Facial recognition software was used to match the remains with facial photos of Osama Bin Laden. 2) There was apparently a personal identification of the body by someone inside the complex (exactly who identified the remains is unclear).  3) DNA testing of the remains took place within hours of death.

DNA Testing is now fast and accurate. It no longer takes weeks but can be done in the matter of hours and has a 99.9% or better accuracy rate.  At least one question remains – who, how or what did they test to confirm that it was Osama Bin Laden?  Did they test a family member against his DNA? There is speculation that they could they have tested the purported Osama Bin Laden sample against DNA from his sister, which (according to reports) had been held at Massachusetts General Hospital after her death in Boston last year. Or did they somehow already have Osama Bin Laden’s DNA on file and test against that?

According to Dr. M. Al Salih, who works at DNA Reference Laboratory in San Antonio, TX, he is sure that the results are accurate.  “You can come up with a very solid and absolute certainty that that is him and nobody else. If you identify that individual through those markers, and you can compare and you can say, ‘They match,’ or ‘They don’t match.’” Salih went on to state that the technology is very precise and results are 99.9 percent accurate.

However, on the other side is Dr. Greg Hampikian, a biology professor at Boise State University, says if they can get DNA from one of his kids and their mother then they do a reverse paternity test to confirm his identity and he suspects that is the type of DNA testing that was done. However even with a 99.9 percent identification Hampikian says that this case is not closed. As a scientist, Hampikian says 99.9 percent does not equal a positive identification.

As is the case with most major events such as this, skeptics speculate that we have not received enough proof and conspiracy abounds. One thing is for certain, we love conspiracies and we will never really know the truth.

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UCLA Scientists Link Gene To Autism Risk

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:44 PM
Monday, July 30, 2012

Classic autism strikes boys four times more often than girls, with the inclusion of milder variations (Asperger syndrome) boys are ten times more likely than girls to be diagnosed than girls.

UCLA Scientists link genetic variant to autism risk. This discovery may explain the gap in autism cases between boys and girls. Dr. Stanley Nelson, professor of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and his team narrowed their research on a region of chromosome 17 that previous studies have tied to autism. In that region they discovered a variant of a gene (a gene that is essentially the same as another, but has mutational differences) called CACNA1G. Dr. Stanley Nelson and his team looked at the DNA of 1,046 members of families with at least two sons affected by autism for common gene variants.

According to Dr. Stanley Nelson, “We wanted to identify what was happening in this region of chromosome 17 that boosts autism risk. When the same genetic markers kept cropping up in a single region of the DNA, we knew we had uncovered a big clue.”

The researcher team traced the genetic markers to CACNA1G. CACNA1G helps move calcium between cells. They discovered a common variant that appears in the DNA of nearly 40 percent of the population studied.

“This alternate form of CACNA1G consistently increased the correlation to autism spectrum disorders, suggesting that inheriting the gene may heighten a child’s risk of developing autism,” Nelson said, but he emphasized that it cannot be considered a risk factor on its own. “This variant is a single piece of the puzzle,” he said. “We need a larger sample size to identify all of the genes involved in autism and to solve the whole puzzle of this disease.”

This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and Cure Autism Now. The DNA samples were provided by the Los Angeles–based Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE).

For more information see:

UCLA Newsroom

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BioArts’ Best Friends Again Program

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:26 PM
Friday, July 27, 2012

BioArts is an American company who has teamed up with Sooam Biotech Research Foundation close to Seoul Korea to offer the Best Friends Again Program.

This Program offers dog and cat cloning to the general public. Currently they have only offered 4 cloning slots and have not decided if they will open any more slots in the future, that having been said the are offering a 5th slot through their websit. The 4 slots that were offered were awarded through a public internet auction.

BioArts is the customer service side of the program while Sooam Biotech Research Foundation does the actual cloning.

BioArts offers two reasons for wanting this type of service. The first is the ability to have a new pet with similar personality traits and identical coloring, size and body type to the original pet. They talk about the joy the families can experience in exploring their new animal. They do not discuss the fact that the cost listed for their 5th slot is 180,000 US dollars. An amount that seems fairly cost prohibitive to cloning the family pet. Under their Social Benefits page they do discuss the benefits of cloning working dogs to maintain the original animals superior ability. I surmise that this could be taken a second step and that this service could be truly beneficial to breeders with award winning animals who’s genetic perfection they don’t wish to lose. Award Winning animals make money for breeders by 1) winning prizes and, 2) breeding fees. This seems to be the only area where the cost might out way the benefits.

While this is an interesting service it is the opinion of this writer that the full ramifications of this program have not been fully considered. Is it right to recreate an animal for monetary gain (as in the breeding situation)? What is the emotional and physiological effect of recreating a pet on the family in the long term? Isn’t part of being a pet owner the sad fact that they like people do not live for ever? What would pet cloning teach children about the life cycle?

http://bestfriendsagain.com/

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DNA Proof Missing for Italy’s Amanda Knox Murder Trial

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:07 PM
Friday, July 27, 2012

Amanda Knox is an American woman convicted for the December 2009 murder of a British student studying in Italy. Italian officials claimed that Amanda Knox murdered Meredith Kercher in a drug-fueled sex game that turned violent. Amanda Knox has repeatedly protested her innocence and is appealing the sentence. Meredith Kercher was found in November of 2007 in her room in the cottage she shared with Knox.

Curt Knox, the father of Amanda Knox, told reporters on May 18th that DNA experts for the his daughter’s appeal were missing key information that was being held by Italian police. When speaking with the AFP Curt stated, “The independent experts have made requests for specific information from the forensic police related to the DNA testing of the knife in particular… this data is not being provided.”

According to Amanda Knox’s father, the independent experts appointed to review key forensic evidence had not been given access to all the evidence. He stated in an email that, ”They have requested the “row data” which in DNA testing is a vital part of the process of testing. I’m told that this data is not being provided and this is the reason for the independent experts to request an extension to filing their final report.”

In the process of appealing Knox’s case, fresh DNA tests were ordered on the presumed murder weapon and a bra clip found at the scene. The DNA team had 90 days to review the evidence but are likely to use the May 21st hearing to request additional time to submit their final report.

Curt Knox said that, “Amanda is not afraid of the truth.” He added, ”it will be interesting to understand why the forensic police are not willing to provide the independent experts the information they feel is necessary in order to provide a fully reviewed final report.”

According to Curt Knox after visiting Amanda in prison, “She is holding up as well as you would expect for a person who has been in prison now for three-and-a-half years for a crime she didn’t commit and still has faith in the Italian Justice system to seek the truth in her appeals trial.”

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Amanda Knox is Innocent of Brutal Murder, Retired FBI Agent Claims

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:05 PM
Friday, July 27, 2012

FBI Special Agent Steve Moore once believed Amanda Knox was guilty of murder now says he has no doubt that she is innocent.  The retired agent told Good Morning America, ”When Amanda Knox gets out, if she needs a roommate, I’ll send my daughter over… The evidence is completely conclusive.”

Moore, a FBI veteran with 25 years experience who investigated murders around the world before retiring two years ago, independently researched and analyzed Amanda Knox’s case for the past year while she waited for her appeal.

Knox, now 22, has spent nearly three years in an Italian prison since the November 2007 arrest for the murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher. Kercher was found sexually assaulted and her throat slashed, her half naked body under a duvet in her bedroom in the home shared with Knox.  Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were both convicted of murder in December 2009 after a nearly a year long trial. A third person, an Ivory Coast drifter named Rudy Guede, whose DNA was found at the crime scene, was convicted of taking part in the homicide in an earlier trial.

At first, Moore said, he firmly believed Knox was guilty as charged. ”The police said she is. She was arrested,” he said. Moore said his wife encouraged him to look into Knox’s case.  Moors has never spoken to Knox’s family or attorneys. In November, Moore obtained the crime scene video, autopsy photos and legal documents. He spent weeks poring through them. According to Moore his opinion quickly changed

He said, “I couldn’t figure out why Amanda and Raffaele weren’t eliminated on day one as suspects, I kept thinking the smoking gun would pop up — and it didn’t come. I didn’t know why they were in jail.”

The investigation found none of Knox’s DNA — no hair, blood or fingerprints — in the bedroom where Kercher was murdered. ”There is no DNA evidence. What they’re saying is that whoever killed Meredith cleaned up in Amanda’s bathroom. That’s all they say,” Moore said. “They found Amanda’s DNA in her own bathroom? Astounding.”

Moore said he spent hours watching video of Italian police officials combing through the crime scene and was shocked at what he saw. Moore says,”they were doing unsound forensic techniques that lead to cross contamination. Their techniques were horrible, if you showed that video tape in American court you would have lost more of your evidence.”

He also criticized Italian authorities for their interrogation of Knox, which he compared to tactics used by “third-world intelligence agencies.”  He drew those comparison from tactics that included her being questioned for hours, and at times when she would be exhausted.  Knox was given”no food, no coffee, no bathroom breaks — nothing,” Moore said.

Knox’s appeal is tentatively scheduled to begin Nov. 24. A new panel of two judges and six jurors from Perugia will reexamine Knox’s case. A decision is expected by March.

Knox’s appeal also called for an independent review of the DNA evidence, a request denied by a judge during her trial.

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Cloning Skeptics Request Clonaid DNA Evidence

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:20 PM
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Clonaid™ a company that claims to be a provider of reproductive human cloning services announced that a baby born on December 26th, 2002 was the first cloned baby. The baby, called Eve, is reported to be a clone of her mother. The company provided no pictures of the baby and no names of the parents were offered, not even a vague location of their whereabouts. By 2004 Clonaid had claimed the successful birth of 13 health cloned babies.

Cloning creates a new individual using only one person’s DNA. The process is technically difficult but conceptually simple. Scientists remove the genetic material from an unfertilized egg, then introduce new DNA from a cell of the animal to be cloned. Under the proper conditions, the egg begins dividing into new cells according to the instructions in the introduced DNA.

Cloning experts have said they need to see DNA evidence done by independent experts before they believe Clonaid’s claims. As of yet this has not happened.  In 2003, it appeared that the world might get the evidence of cloning when freelance TV journalist and former ABC-TV science editor Michael Guillen,  said he had chosen an expert who will draw DNA samples from the Eve and her mother. Guillen, said he had no links to Clonaid and was not being paid for his work. He had picked, two “world-class, independent DNA testing labs,” where other experts will look for a match between the samples. Unfortunately the samples and the testing never appeared.

At this point human cloning is still an unfounded claim and a hot topic of debate. Clonaid’s announcement created a flood of questions: ethical, medical, political, religious — some which belonged solely to the field of science fiction up to this point it appears. Their announcement also created a flurry of legislation and/or guidelines to ban human cloning have been introduced or passed in dozens of nations, including the United States. While many countries, including Britain, Israel, Japan and Germany, already have banned human cloning.

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Have Amelia Erhart’s Remains Been Found?

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 10:42 AM
Monday, July 23, 2012

Amelia_Earhart

Three bones found on Nikumaroro Island a remote island in the South Pacific by a group that recovers historic aircraft might prove to be those of Amelia Erhart.  The DNA from the bone fragments will be compared to samples donated by an anonymous member of Earhart’s family.

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma are hoping that DNA will prove the remains belong to the legendary pilot.

Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery in Delaware said, “There’s no guarantee. You only have to say you have a bone that may be human and may be linked to Earhart and people get excited. But it is true that, if they can get DNA, and if they can match it to Amelia Earhart’s DNA, that’s pretty good.”

In a 2007 trip to Nikumaroro, personal items were found, as well as the remains of a campsite.  ”Bird and fish remains around the island suggest a Westerner’s style of eating.”These fish weren’t eaten like Pacific Islanders” eat fish, Gillespie said.

Researchers have said that it will take months before they can speak with any certainty about their findings.

To Read More

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Tip of the Month – January 2011

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:50 PM
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If collecting samples for a case on different dates or at different times (i.e. the child on Monday and the possible father on Friday) it is best to hold onto the first set of samples so that they can be shipped with the second set of samples in the same package.

If the collections are occurring at separate locations and the samples cannot be shipped together, it is best to document on the chain of custody the names of the other individuals who’s samples we will be sending samples for. By including all the names of the individuals on both chain of custody forms we will be able to more readily match up the case when the samples come in separately so that there is no delay in reporting your results.

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