Identification of gunshots to the head by detection of RNA in backspatter primarily expressed in brain tissue

Lux, Constantin; Schyma, Christian; Madea, Burkhard; Courts, Cornelius (2014). Identification of gunshots to the head by detection of RNA in backspatter primarily expressed in brain tissue. Forensic science international, 237, pp. 62-69. Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland 10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.01.016

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Traces of backspatter recovered from the inside of the barrel of a gun that was used to deliver suicidal or homicidal contact shots may be a source of valuable forensic evidence and first systematic investigations of the persistence of victim DNA from inside firearms have been presented. The aim of the present study was to include victim RNA in such analyses to determine the origin of tissues in addition and parallel to standard DNA profiling for forensic identification purposes. In a first step, suitable mRNA (C1orf61) and micro-RNAs (miR-124a and miR-124*) that are primarily expressed in brain tissue were selected from potential candidates and confirmed using quantitative PCR (qPCR). Secondly, a co-extraction procedure for RNA and DNA was established and brain differentiability of the selected RNAs was demonstrated via qPCR using samples from experimental shots at ballistic models. In a third step, this procedure was successfully applied to analyse samples from real casework comprising eight cases of suicidal contact shots. In this pilot study, we are first to report the possibility of co-extracting mRNA, miRNA and DNA from ballistic trace samples collected from the inside of firearms and we demonstrate that RNA and DNA based analyses can be performed in parallel to produce informative and highly complementary evidence.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Schyma, Christian

ISSN:

0379-0738

Publisher:

Elsevier Scientific Publ. Ireland

Language:

English

Submitter:

Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

30 Jan 2015 16:29

Last Modified:

06 Nov 2015 10:26

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.01.016

PubMed ID:

24598119

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.62289

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/62289

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