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UI Forensic Doctor: Fat Tissue is a Proper Sample Candidate for the Identification Process

Universitas Indonesia > News > Faculty of Medicine News > UI Forensic Doctor: Fat Tissue is a Proper Sample Candidate for the Identification Process

Forensic expert, Adjunct Police Commissioner, dr. Leonardo, Sp. FM., received a Doctorate degree in Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine University of Indonesia. In his dissertation, dr. Leonardo presented the topic of the potential of fat tissue as a candidate sample that could be used in the identification process in suicide bombing cases. Suicide bombings are unpredictable events and result in deaths. In fact, from 2001 to 2019, there were reported 22 cases of suicide bombings in Indonesia.

In this case, the perpetrator network is identified through the bomb signature, which is the characteristic of the bombs used, most of these bombs used high explosives in TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide). Even though it is unstable and easy to explode, TATP explosives are often used by terrorist groups, because the raw materials are easy to obtain and the destruction is enormous. The suicide bombing caused the body of the victim to suffer serious damage. The remains of body tissue found sometimes cannot be identified because they cannot be recognized visually and are affected by the explosion.

According to dr. Leonardo, body debris from explosions is sometimes just fatty tissue and is considered rubbish because it is not ideal for identifying someone using DNA. Fat also has a cell nucleus and has a physiological function to protect the body, so it is stronger than other tissues.

“Fat is a tissue that is more resistant to impact, so the genetic material in it is better protected. This certainly makes fat tissue a good candidate sample for the identification process in suicide bombing cases. Therefore, research is needed regarding the use of fat tissue in DNA identification, especially in cases of suicide bomb explosions,” said Dr. Leonardo.

In his research, he obtained 240 fat tissue samples from one subject and divided the samples into two groups, namely exposed and not exposed to explosions with a variety of preservation media (aluminum foil, ice box, and PBS/Phosphate Buffered Saline solution), DNA extraction methods (organic and PrepFiler®) and examination delay time (Days 5 and 7). The DNA extract is then evaluated to see the purity, integrity, typing, and quantity of DNA.

The study showed that blast-exposed fatty tissue yielded sufficient DNA and was ideal for forensic examination. Fat tissue exposed to explosions had the same results as tissue that was not exposed to explosions, in terms of DNA purity, integrity, and quantity, and even had better DNA typing results. In preservation media, it shows the same effectiveness in maintaining DNA purity, while for DNA integrity, it is most effective with PBS media. Meanwhile, an ice box is the best choice to maintain DNA quantity and successful DNA typing. Extraction delay time also affects DNA integrity, quantity, and typing.

In this case, extraction on day 5 provided better typing and DNA quantity compared to day 7. The organic extraction method showed better results in terms of DNA purity, integrity, and quantity than PrepFiler® even though both provide the same final result. Changes that occur in a small portion of the sample in two different loci can be ignored.

From his research entitled “The Effect of High Explosive Bomb Blasts on Fat Tissue Samples for Forensic DNA Examination: Study of Extreme and Minimal Precise Samples at the Explosion Center”, dr. Leonardo successfully finished his dissertation and received cum laude predicate. The doctoral promotion took place in Auditorium 2 IMERI Faculty of Medicine, UI Salemba Campus, on Thursday (11/1) with the Chair of the Session, the Deputy Dean of Faculty of Medicine UI for Education, Research and Student Affairs, Prof. Dr. dr. Dwiana Ocviyanti, Sp. OG(K), M.P.H.

The promoter at the trial was a Professor of Forensic Medicine and Medicolegal Sciences Prof. Dr. dr. Herkutanto, Sp. FM Subsp. FK(K), S.H., L.L.M., FACLM with Co-Promoter dr. Djaja Surya Atmadja, Sp. FM Subsp. FK(K), S.H., Ph.D and Dr. Dr. Ade Firmansyah Sugiharto, Sp. FM Subsp. FK(K). The examining team is chaired by Prof. Dr. Dr. Suhendro, Sp. PD, Subsp. PTI(K) with members consisting of Dr. Dr. Wresti Indriatmi, Sp. KK(K)., M. Epid., and two guest examiners, Prof. Dr. Dr. Ahmad Yudianto, Sp. FM Subsp. SBM(K), M.H. Kes., from Airlangga University and Pol. Ir. Wahyu Widodo from the National Narcotics Agency of the Republic of Indonesia.

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