Damian S. L. Yeo & L. C. Goh (DSLY)
No. 2007, Lorong Sidang Omar, off Jalan Penghulu Abbas, Bukit Baru, Hang Tuah Jaya, 75100 Melaka

Tel : 06-2347011
& 06-2347012
Fax: 06-2347022


Saturday, July 19, 2008

DNA is Permanent, Mr PeeeM

I wish to thank my brader, Joshua in his blog about DNA where he googled it and came up the article below that talks about DNA being a permanent in nature.

Looks like the Prime Minister just embarrassed himself in front of all MALAYSIANS. Download the YouTube taken by Malaysiakini

Below is some insight on DNA taken from the Star.

Caught by science


A strand of hair, a toothpick, a drop of blood and saliva on the rim of a cup – hardly tangible but enough to put criminals behind bars and help loved ones identify their dead next of kin. In many of the high profile crime cases, the Forensic Section of the Chemistry Department helps the police put the pieces together.

STAINED bed-sheets. These are items suspicious wives have sent to the Forensic Section of the Chemistry Department to find out if their husbands are faithful or otherwise.

It is a long and expensive process, which involves tracing the bed-sheet for seminal stains, extracting the DNA, amplifying it and testing the samples. If DNA from the seminal stains does not match the husband or wife's DNA, then very likely there is a case of infidelity.

Then there are those who seek the help of the department, which comes under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, to ascertain biological links, also done through DNA testing.

In Malaysia though, DNA testing is limited and the Forensic Section is mostly preoccupied with crime cases such as murder, rape and robbery. Many items are subject to testing – clothing, mattresses, nail clippings, firearms, bloodstains, cigarette butts and even chewing gum.

"On some occasions, robbers might have a drink after their job. We can test the cup (saliva) for their DNA," says Primulapathi Jaya, director of the Malaysian Chemistry Department's Forensic Section.

DNA or Deoxyribonucleic Acid is a nucleic acid molecule that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms (Wikipedia). A person inherits an equal amount of DNA from the mother and father. With the exception of identical twins, a person's DNA is unique.

"DNA is permanent and doesn't get destroyed," says Primulapathi.

"It (DNA testing) is applying science to law to ensure criminal justice. This evidence doesn't lie. How it got there is another issue and that is for the police to find out. Only in paternity cases are we 100% sure," he adds.

Anything that humans come into contact with have traces of DNA, including one's toothbrush. In a recent case, a toothpick found in a car used for armed robbery nailed a member of the notorious Dewa gang.

DNA is taken from every US Army personnel so if anything were to happen to them (for example, blown to pieces beyond recognition), their identity can be confirmed.

The Chemistry Department has been involved in the high profile Canny Ong and Altantuya murder cases, among others. In the Canny Ong case, the convicted killer's sperm was found on her clothing while Canny's blood was found on the killer's jeans.

For now, the Forensic Section is busy with the murder of Goh Yoke Seng, whose body was chopped into 11 pieces and found in a refrigerator in a condominium in Mont Kiara last Sunday. DNA tests confirmed the identity of the deceased.

»This evidence doesn't lie. How it got there is another issue and that is for the police to find out. Only in paternity cases are we 100% sure« PRIMULAPATHI JAYA
A blood sample from the next of kin of the deceased was used to confirm the identity of the body, says Primulapathi.

The time taken to solve one case depends on the number of exhibits received. If there are 100 exhibits, then it may take almost two months to test every exhibit, although police would recommend which exhibits were important.

"The police have improved a lot compared to when they first started. Before, they used to bring ahout 10 exhibits. Now it can go up to 80 exhibits. We try to screen what is relevant and what is urgent. If we have no further leads, then we will proceed with the next items," says Primulapathi.

Most murder cases take four to six weeks to complete but staff work round the clock when there are urgent cases.

"Some cases take time to complete. Complex cases can take a month to interpret, for example, a gang rape involving five or six people," he says.

Testing two DNA samples costs RM1,500, considered to be cheap in the region. In Singapore, it costs about S$1,300 (RM2,951).

The Forensic Section lab is state-of-the-art and has received ASCLD-LAB ("American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board") accreditation after a review by 11 experts from all over the world. It is the fourth lab outside America to gain such status.

Before the DNA testing, preliminary tests have to be done, explains forensic scientist (DNA), Noraidora Saedon. For example, the acid phosphatase test determines the presence of seminal stains. This could take a long time if the exhibit is a mattress. Blotting paper (A4) is placed on the mattress and stains are traced; every inch of the mattress has to be covered.

"Once we determine the location of the stain, the location is cut out and another test is conducted to determine if it's from a male or female," explains Noraidora.

Once that is done, DNA is extracted from the sample. The result is a clear liquid, which is then amplified before it can be tested. This process applies to all exhibits.

DNA from the exhibits is then compared with the suspect's DNA in a crime case. If there is a match, this evidence can be used to charge the suspect in court. If there is no match, the DNA profile is stored in a computer, to be used for future references. In one instance, a taxi driver was linked to six rape cases.

According to scientific officer Sharizah Alimat, DNA extraction can be a tedious process depending on the sample provided. While extracting DNA from blood is considered to be clear-cut, extracting DNA from a piece of bone (without its marrow) could take almost two weeks.

And in this nature of work, a lot of care is taken when handling the exhibits.

"We have to ensure the integrity of the exhibit. The sample must be tested without interference. We adhere to very strict procedures," says Primulapathi.

The DNA profile of staff is taken to ensure they are ruled out in case of any contamination while the exhibits have to be marked clearly so that no mix-up occurs.

"The sample that comes in may not be clean and there may be very little DNA, so we have to take extreme care. We can't rush the work and make mistakes because this involves people's life," says Sharizah.

1 comment:

joshua said...

hello, bro.

who is PeeeM,

someone who Peee?

haha...aiyoh...i wonder what happened to him LAH.

if i were him, i don't know how to hide my face...