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Title: Detection of bacterioplankton using PCR probes as a diagnostic indicator for drowning; the Leicester experience.
Authors: Rutty, Guy N.
Bradley, Carina J.
Biggs, Mike J. P.
Hollingbury, Frances E.
Hamilton, Stuart J.
Malcomson, Roger D. G.
Holmes, Christopher W.
First Published: 23-Jun-2015
Publisher: Elsevier for Japanese Society of Legal Medicine
Citation: Legal Medicine
Abstract: Bodies found immersed in water can pose difficulties to the investigating authorities. Pathologists may be assisted with the diagnosis by the use of tests such as the analysis for diatoms or the levels of strontium in the blood, although there is a recognised level of uncertainty associated with these tests. Recent work from Japan has shown that using molecular approaches, most recently real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays with TaqMan probes for bacterioplankton, it is possible to undertake rapid, less laborious, high throughput tests to differentiate freshwater from marine bacterioplankton and in doing so provide a molecular diagnostic test to assist in the diagnosis of drowning. We report the experiences of a United Kingdom forensic pathology unit in the use of this PCR based system for the diagnosis of drowning. We applied this technique to 20 adult and child cadavers from 4 bath, 12 freshwater, 2 brackish and 2 salt water scenes both from within the United Kingdom and abroad. Drowning was concluded to be the cause of death in 16 of these 20 cases and the PCR method supported this conclusion in 12 of these 16 cases. The PCR did not provide evidence of drowning in the four cases where death was from other causes. We illustrate that this PCR method provides a rapid diagnostic supportive test for the diagnosis of drowning that can be applied to United Kingdom autopsy practice.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2015.06.001
ISSN: 1344-6223
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine

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