Monthly Archives: March 2015

SAPS forensic backlog drastically reduced

Analyst3Johannesburg – The SA Police Service (SAPS) had managed to reduced its forensic backlog by 92 percent, it said on Monday.
“Since [the] 2009/10 financial year, the forensic laboratories reduced [the] backlog from 59 023 to [a] commendable level of about 4440 case entries which depicts [a] 92 percent backlog reduction up to the third quarter of 2014/15,” said SAPS spokesman Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale.
This included backlogs in DNA and drug analysis as well as trichology.

Nominations for IACP August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award

Vollmer AwardIACP recognizes the significant impact forensic science has on the criminal justice system. The August Vollmer Excellence in Forensic Science Award honors the proactive, innovative use of forensic technologies by law enforcement.

A founding father of DNA forensics blasts the DNA evidence used in the Amanda Knox trial.

Helix4Dr. Gill’s professional opinion on the knife correlates with Profs. Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti of the University of Rome. Conti and Vecchiotti analyzed the DNA evidence at the request of the court during Knox and Sollecito’s successful appeal. Conti and Vecchiotti concluded that contamination could not be ruled out because recommendations of the international scientific community regarding Low Copy Number (LCN) samples were not properly followed when testing the knife.

Iceland Completes DNA Records for Entire Nation

unique strandResearchers in Iceland have recorded the human genetic code of the “entire nation” in the largest ever study of its kind.

Germanwings Crash: DNA Experts Work to Identify Victims

Germanwings recoverySEYNE-LES-ALPES, France — Jewelry and pieces of clothing were being removed from Germanwings crash victims on Friday and helicoptered out, police said Friday, as forensics teams ramped up DNA testing.

Ohio legislation would extend statute of limitations on rape cases amid ongoing DNA testing

old DNACOLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s 20-year statute of limitations for prosecuting rape cases could be extended under legislation in the House and Senate.

The Government Is Finally Doing Something to End the Rape-Kit Backlog

backlof of rapekitsAcross the country, an estimated 400,000 rape kits—the DNA swabs, hair, photographs, and detailed information gathered from victims of sexual assault and used as evidence for the prosecution to convict rapists—have never been tested. Testing kits can be expensive, and in many jurisdictions, a lack of funds has resulted in kits being consigned to dusty shelves, stored in abandoned police warehouses, or stowed away in forensic labs—sometimes for years. As a result, survivors may never see their rapists prosecuted, and repeat offenders continue to commit crimes.

Free Promega Webinar: Y Chromosome Haplotype Reference Database (YHRD)

Promega DNA WebinarPlease join us for the second of a two-part series on Y-STR analyses. In this webinar, Dr. Roewer will provide an overview of updates to the Y Chromosome Haplotype Reference Database (YHRD), which assists the interpretation of profiles consisting of Y-STR markers.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dr. Lutz Roewer
Director of the Forensic Genetics Department
See speaker bio
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Time: 09:00 am EST, 08:00 am CST, 07:00 am PST, 14:00 CET
Duration: 60 minutes
Register Here

More Alleged Rapists Identified By Kit Testing in Memphis

Sexual assualt backlogMEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Officials say more than 5,600 of 12,000 backlogged rape evidence kits have been tested in Memphis, leading to the identification of nearly three dozen alleged rapists.

New Solicitation: DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program

Justice DeptNIJ is seeking proposals for funding for the FY 2015 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program. This program funds States and units of local government with existing crime laboratories that conduct DNA analysis to process, record, screen, and analyze forensic DNA and/or DNA database samples, and to increase the capacity of public forensic DNA and DNA database laboratories to process more DNA samples, thereby helping to reduce the number of forensic DNA and DNA database samples awaiting analysis.
Application deadline: May 18.

Bill would require post-conviction preservation of DNA

swabOLYMPIA, Wash. – DNA evidence can be the turning point for a post-conviction appeal, but whether or not it still exists years later is often no guarantee.

Biden calls rape kit testing ‘absolute priority’

BidenPointing to the existence of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country, Vice President Joe Biden told advocates in Baltimore County on Monday that the Obama administration is committed to increasing funding to help clear a backlog that has left victims waiting for justice.

Scientists Take DNA Sample From Woolly Mammoth Leg for Cloning Project

preserved wooly mammothThe research team, from the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation and Russia’s North-Eastern Federal University, began this week to extract DNA from the leg of the long-frozen animal. The news was reported by the university and the Siberian Times.

Victims’ mothers support DNA swabs for felony suspects

Sepich and WalkerNew Mexico mother Jayann Sepich recently says in St. Paul that her daughter’s killer could have been caught much quicker had DNA been taken from felony suspects. Next to her is Linda Walker, mother of Dru Sjodin, a Minnesota girl killed in 2003. With them are Minnesota Sens. Carrie Ruud of Breezy Point and Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria, who have a bill to require DNA swabs from felony suspects. (Senate Media Services photo by A.J. Olmscheid)

Humanitarian crisis at border calls for an unusual tool: DNA testing

blue helix2The remains of yet another migrant were reported recently in Brooks County, Texas, a county bordering Mexico. That was the 17th dead body found in that county in the first two months of 2015. Sadly, that’s not really news. Hundreds of undocumented migrants are found dead along the southern U.S. border each year, and many are buried without identification. What is surprising is that most are from Central America – not Mexico.