Monthly Archives: January 2014

Kercher trial: How does DNA contamination occur?

KnoxPotential for the contamination of forensic DNA evidence has been highlighted by the Meredith Kercher murder trial. But just how much of a problem is it and what lessons should be drawn?

Criminal justice professors study disaster DNA preservation

dnaintesttubeForensic scientists at Sam Houston State University are conducting research to improve DNA preservation after natural disasters that will assist in the identification of victims.

Forthcoming NIJ Funding Opportunities

Justice DeptTypically, most of NIJ’s solicitations are released December through April (pending appropriations from Congress).
This preliminary list of solicitations will change over the coming weeks. When the solicitation is released, it will contain the name and contact information of the person managing the solicitation. To be fair and open in the competition, we do not discuss solicitations until they are published. Total funding for these solicitations will depend on the availability of funds.

Which parts of us are Neanderthal? Our genes point to skin and hair

Neanderthal characteristicsA double-barreled comparison of ancient Neanderthal DNA with hundreds of modern-day genomes suggests that many of us have Neanderthal skin and hair traits — but other parts of the Neanderthal genome appear to have been bred out of us along the way.

Fort Worth scientists work to ID bodies found in Florida

Dozier gravesitesThe bodies were discovered in a graveyard at a reform school in Florida, dark secrets hidden for more than 60 years.

New method rescues DNA from contaminated Neandertal bones

paleolithic-human-man-lgRetrieval of ancient DNA molecules is usually performed with special precautions to prevent DNA from researchers or the environment to get mixed in with the DNA from the fossil. However, many ancient fossils have been lying in museum collection for decades, and are contaminated with present-day human DNA before they enter the DNA-laboratory.

DNA from ancient plague points to modern peril

helix 7…Using DNA teased from 1,500-year-old teeth of plague victims buried in Germany, scientists have reconstructed the genetic profile of the killer and say its ability to mutate is a warning for people today…

Oklahoma City police, prosecutors use DNA evidence to nab thieves

DNA 2A smudge of blood on a broken window. A discarded cigarette butt. Even a used piece of toilet paper. These are all items from which Oklahoma City police have recovered DNA evidence from burglars. Even when the criminals have not been identified and charged, their DNA profiles often are.
The department started aggressively pursuing property crime cases through DNA evidence in 2009, said Campbell Ruddock, police DNA lab manager.

Bills seek moratorium on destroying DNA evidence

DNA and justiceOLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The destruction of DNA evidence in some criminal cases has prompted the introduction of measures in the state House and Senate that would impose an 18-month moratorium on such actions.

Pentagon, scientists closing in on rapid DNA technology

DNA IrelandResearchers are closing in on the final steps of a new system to analyze human DNA in 90 minutes instead of the two to three weeks it now takes, according to interviews with Pentagon and industry officials.
Such a dramatic cut in the amount of time to get a DNA sample has huge ramifications for law enforcement, war crimes investigations and immigration, said Chris Asplen, the executive director of the Global Alliance for Rapid DNA Testing.

Rape-Kit Backlog Bill Introduced

Gavel2Measure would require rape kits be sent for processing to crime labs within five days of being booked into evidence by law enforcement.

Genes And Crime Scenes

Iowa AnalystSIOUX CITY | As forensic investigation techniques get more advanced, police investigators are finding them ever more useful in solving crimes. A new law set to take effect in Iowa later this year could help law enforcement officers even more.

Federal grant will create database of DNA

DNA Image1Georgia prosecutors, the GBI and an unusual ally, the Georgia Innocence Project, hope a $424,000 federal grant will help solve some old cases as well as exonerate some people who were wrongly convicted.

F.B.I. Audit of Database That Indexes DNA Finds Errors in Profiles

DNA Strands2The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a review of a national DNA database, has identified nearly 170 profiles that probably contain errors, some the result of handwriting mistakes or interpretation errors by lab technicians, while New York State authorities have turned up mistakes in DNA profiles in New York’s database.

Infant bones sent to Texas for examination

MitoThe skeletal remains of two infants found in North Canton will be sent to the University of North Texas for testing Tuesday. Police and investigators hope result will answer questions surrounding the bones, which were found in a deceased woman’s home more than a month ago.