Publications by authors named "Elena Ponzano"

5 Publications

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Collecting sexual assault history and forensic evidence from adult women in the emergency department: a retrospective study.

BMC Health Serv Res 2018 05 29;18(1):383. Epub 2018 May 29.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Laboratory of Forensic Genetics, University of Padova, Via Falloppio 50, 35121, Padova, Italy.

Background: The objective of this retrospective study was to examine the discrepancy between information derived from written medical reports and the results of forensic DNA analyses on swabs collected from the victims in 122 cases of alleged sexual assault treated at the Emergency Department of Padua Hospital. The examination of discrepant results has proved useful to support a broader application of sexual assault management, particularly during the taking of case history.

Methods: The Laboratory of Forensic Genetics of Padua University have processed samples from 122 sexual assault cases over a period of 5 years.

Results: Of the 103 cases in which the victim reported a penetration and ejaculation, only 67 (55% of all the samples) correlated with positive feedback match from the laboratory. In 36 cases in which the patient reported penetration with ejaculation, no male DNA was found in the samples collected. Therefore, there was a total of 41 cases in which the patient's report were not supported by laboratory data. In the remaining ten cases, which had an ambiguous history, 3 tested positively for the presence of male DNA.

Conclusions: To avoid discrepancies between the medical reporting and reconstruction of sex crimes, it is crucial to deploy strategies which focus not only on the technical aspects of evidence collection, but also on how the victim's story is recorded; such efforts could lead to better management of sexual assault victims, and to a strengthened legal impact of forensic evidence and of crime reconstruction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-3205-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5975504PMC
May 2018

Discrimination between human and animal DNA: application of a duplex polymerase chain reaction to forensic identification.

Am J Forensic Med Pathol 2011 Jun;32(2):180-2

Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Legal Medicine Section, University of Padua, Padova, Italy.

Identification of a report's species is one of the basic analyses in forensic laboratories. The authors report the case of 6 bone fragments recovered in a wooded area, which were not attributable to 1 animal species on the basis of morphologic examination. The aim of this study was to develop a duplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to discriminate human and animal origin of bone fragments. The method is based on the PCR amplification of cytochrome b and a 16S ribosomal mitochondrial DNA fragment, which has never been tested up to now. Our protocol combines a single-round PCR with direct visualization of amplicons in agarose gel, without sequencing analysis of the PCR products. The presence of a single band (359 bp) indicates a nonhuman origin of the sample, whereas 2 bands (157 and 359 bp) indicate a human biologic sample.This method revealed to be useful for forensic purposes because the 16S ribosomal mitochondrial DNA is a small human-specific fragment that is easily amplifiable even with degraded DNA from biologic materials such as old bones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAF.0b013e31820c2bbaDOI Listing
June 2011

Tumoural specimens for forensic purposes: comparison of genetic alterations in frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues.

Int J Legal Med 2011 May 6;125(3):327-32. Epub 2010 Apr 6.

Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Legal Medicine Unit, University of Padova, Via Falloppio 50, 35121, Padua, Italy.

In certain circumstances, tumour tissue specimens are the only DNA resource available for forensic DNA analysis. However, cancer tissues can show microsatellite instability and loss of heterozygosity which, if concerning the short tandem repeats (STRs) used in the forensic field, can cause misinterpretation of the results. Moreover, though formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues (FFPET) represent a large resource for these analyses, the quality of the DNA obtained from this kind of specimen can be an important limit. In this study, we evaluated the use of tumoural tissue as biological material for the determination of genetic profiles in the forensic field, highlighting which STR polymorphisms are more susceptible to tumour genetic alterations and which of the analysed tumours show a higher genetic variability. The analyses were conducted on samples of the same tissues conserved in different storage conditions, to compare genetic profiles obtained by frozen tissues and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. The importance of this study is due to the large number of specimens analysed (122), the large number of polymorphisms analysed for each specimen (39), and the possibility to compare, many years after storage, the same tissue frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded. In the comparison between the genetic profiles of frozen tumour tissues and FFPET, the same genetic alterations have been reported in both kinds of specimens. However, FFPET showed new alterations. We conclude that the use of FFPET requires greater attention than frozen tissues in the results interpretation and great care in both pre-extraction and extraction processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00414-010-0443-7DOI Listing
May 2011

Development of a heptaplex PCR system to analyse X-chromosome STR loci from five Italian population samples. A collaborative study.

Forensic Sci Int 2005 Oct;153(2-3):231-6

Department of Medicine and Public Health, Section of Legal Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio 49, 40126 Bologna, Italy.

Many X-chromosome short tandem repeats (X-STRs) have been validated for forensic use even if further studies are needed on allele frequencies and mutation rates to evaluate the extent of polymorphism in different populations and to establish reference databases useful for forensic applications and for anthropological studies. A single multiplex reaction of seven X-STRs, which includes the DXS6789, HUMARA, DXS10011, DXS7423, HPRTB, DXS6807, DXS101 loci, is presented and their allele frequency distribution in a large population sample including 556 subjects (268 females and 288 males) analysed by five forensic laboratories of Central and Northern Italy is shown. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of a single amplification/detection reaction involving seven markers of the X chromosome, which can be fruitfully used in complex kinship analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2005.05.013DOI Listing
October 2005

Allele sharing in first-degree and unrelated pairs of individuals in the Ge F I AmpFlSTR Profiler Plus database.

Forensic Sci Int 2003 Jan;131(2-3):85-9

Department of Biomedicine, University of Pisa, C/o Centro Retrovirus, S S Abetone e Brennero 2, 56127 Pisa, Italy.

Eleven Italian forensic laboratories participated in a population study based on the AB Profiler Plus loci with proficiency testing. The validated database, including 1340 individuals, is available on-line. Tests for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, gametic unbalance, and heterogeneity of gene frequency were generally not significant. Gene frequencies at each locus were consistent with those of two previously published Italian studies, but different from a third. Individuals of each subsample were paired, and the total number of alleles shared across the nine loci was determined in each pair. The analysis was replicated over the total sample. In addition, two samples of mother-child pairs (N=315) and full-sib pairs (N=91) were subjected to allele sharing analysis. The resulting distributions were sufficiently distinct from the sample of unrelated pairs as to be of practical usefulness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0379-0738(02)00399-7DOI Listing
January 2003