Daily Archives: September 10, 2015

This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?

Homo NalediScientists have discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave, adding a baffling new branch to the family tree.

UW researchers involved in discovery of new species of human ancestor

Homo-naledi-JPGWhen an amateur caver and university geologist arrived at Lee Berger’s house one night in late 2013 with a fragment of a fossil jawbone in hand, they broke out the beers and called National Geographic.

New state DNA law leads to arrest in 2001 Michigan rape case

helix9A law requiring felony suspects to give a DNA sample has identified a suspect in the East Grand Rapids case, as well as two Texas cases.

Florida’s top lawyer wants quicker processing of rape kits; backlog numbers in the thousands

Blue and black helixTAMPA, Fla. – Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says thousands of untested rape kits are sitting in the evidence rooms of law enforcement agencies across the state, though the exact number is anybody’s guess.
During a news conference Wednesday at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Bondi called for more funding in the next state budget to process the sexual assault kits.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting a study on the number of untested kits and will present the findings to the Legislature in January. The state has committed over $300,000 for the study.

FBI Errors Lead to Discovery that DNA Evidence May be Far Less Foolproof When It Includes More than One Person

Forensic Scientist2Relying on DNA evidence for criminal cases is great when the evidence being tested is from only one subject. But mix in samples from multiple people and it turns out that the results are a lot more fuzzy.

State reports dramatic decrease in backlog of unanalyzed rape test kits

Lab TechnicianWORCESTER – A lingering state backlog of unanalyzed sexual assault testing kits has been reduced to fewer than 500, eight years after the number was pegged at approximately 16,000, state officials said Wednesday.

Millions Earmarked to Clear ‘Disturbing’ Rape Kit Backlog

Sexual assualt backlogFor years, they’ve been collecting dust — tens of thousands of evidence kits that could lead police to serial rapists but have never been tested.
But now, almost $80 million is being earmarked to help clear the massive backlog and hopefully get justice for sexual assault survivors.