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Forensic Genetics Laboratory  

Principal Investigator: dr. Andrea Piccinini MD, PhD

Members: dr. Ferruccio Betti (Biologist, Lab. Technician), dr. Marzio Capra (guest Biologist), dr. Rossella Lorenzoni (guest Biologist)



• Legal aspects of forensic DNA testing

• Application of forensic genetics techniques an medico-legal protocols in DNA analysis on cadaver tissues in the determination of genetically inheritable diseases, eg. mutations causing potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias (coll. with “Laboratorio di Biologia Molecolare della Fondazione Policlinico di Milano”, and with “Dipartimento di Scienze Biomolecolari e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Milano”). 
• Collaborations with several research groups in the genetic fingerprinting of cell lines, eg. in case of chimersim, neoplastic degeneration, and clone growth monitoring.
• Usefulness and limits of new DNA extraction and typing techniques in forensic genetic analyses.

• Usefulness and limits of new technologies in the traceability of forensic evidence (digital chain of custody).



Kinship analyses: legal and private paternity testing (in criminal and civil cases), maternity, sibship, grandpartent-nephew, etc. All of these tests are performed on living individuals (private and legal cases), on family members in the genetic reconstruction of the DNA profile of a deceased putative father, on biological tissues taken from the deceased (eg. paraffin embedded tissues from biopsies/surgical operations) and on cadaver tissues (legal cases only). 

DNA tests in alleged sample switch both upon private, hospital and laboratory request

Genetic chimerism DNA analysis inallogenic bone marrow transplant. Microsatellite PCR semi-quantitative evaluation is a typical forensic genetics task as it deals with “mixed” genetic samples like those observed in victim-perpetrator DNA mixtures. 

DNA extraction from “complex” tissues. One of the main skills of a forensic geneticists is the ability of extracting DNA from biological traces on various kind of evidence like personal belongings of a deceased person and body tissues like or bone, nails and hair.

Forensic specimen definition eg.stainsonclothes and other items.

Expert opinion on civil and criminal forensic genetics cases:e.g.paternity testing and criminal biological evidence analysis both upon legal and private request.


Recent/relevant Publications

-  Schwartz PJ, Priori SG, Bloise R, Napolitano C, Ronchetti E, Piccinini A, Goj C, Breithardt G, Schulze-Bahr E, Wedekind H, Nastoli J. Molecular diagnosis in a child with sudden infant death syndrome. Lancet (2001); 358(9290): 1342-3.

-   Piccinini (2010) Identikit genetico: la nuova frontiera delle indagini forensi? Biochimica Clinica, 34 (2): 120-127

-   Piccinini, S. Coco, W. Parson, C. Cattaneo, D. Gaudio, R. Barbazza, A. Galassi.  World War One Italian and Austrian Soldier Identification Project: DNA results of the first case (2010) Forensic Science International Genetics. Vol 4 (5): 329-333

-    S. Presciuttini, C. Toni M. Alù, A. Asmundo, L. Baldassarri, A. Barbaro, L. Caenazzo, E. Carnevali, N. Cerri, E. D’Aloia, C. Di Nunzio,V. Onofri, G. Peloso, S. Pelotti, A. Piccinini, C. Robino, S. Turrina, M. Venturi, R. Domenici. (2011) X-chromosome in Italy: A database of 29 STR markers. Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series: e37-e38

Piccinini A, Gennari G, (2012) Dal caso Reed ad Amanda Knox; ovvero quando il DNA non è abbastanza… Diritto Penale e Processo; 18 (3): 359-366.



Dott. Andrea Piccinini tel. 02-503.15706, email:andrea.piccinini@unimi.it

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