Monthly Archives: October 2016

Unique DNA database to identify genetic variation among Emiratis

unique strandABU DHABI: A team of researchers from three continents have been working collaboratively with Khalifa University and the Abu Dhabi Police to identify genetic variation among Emiratis using a special kit which breaks down DNA samples, the university announced on Monday.

Free Webinar: Y-Screening and Direct Amplification of Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Samples

human idScreening for sperm in sexual assault samples is a laborious process with limited sensitivity in comparison to male DNA detection by amplification. Direct amplification of casework samples reduces both cost (labor & reagent) as well as the for potential DNA loss during purification, a special concern with low template samples.
Monday, October 31, 2016 • 11:00 a.m. ET; 10:00 a.m. CT
Register Here

The controversial DNA search that helped nab the ‘Grim Sleeper’ is winning over skeptics

familial dnaThe state’s early success using familial DNA searches to identify the so-called “Grim Sleeper” serial killer led Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to predict that the method would “change the way policing is done in the United States.” Civil liberty groups expressed alarm, saying the searches raised significant ethical and privacy concerns. Some questioned their legality.

Do DNA samples hold key to Israel’s missing children mystery?

Shlomi Bahagli was buried Oct. 18 in Rosh Ha’ayin, having reached the age of 92. For more than 60 years he never stopped searching for his son Hayim, who disappeared as a baby. Bahagli died without knowing whether his son had been taken from him and given to another family, with the knowledge and involvement of the State of Israel. He was told that the baby died of illness at the hospital. There are many other families in Israel like his, mostly of Yemenite origins, who claim that their children were taken from them shortly after they immigrated to Israel in the early 1950s and given to Ashkenazi families for adoption.

End to grant funding brings staff changes at MU Forensic Center

scientist-analyzing-profileHUNTINGTON — The conclusion of a federal grant at Marshall University’s Forensic Science Center means the end of some staff positions at the center.
Seven positions with the Marshall University Research Corporation, the research of which was facilitated at the forensic science center, are being affected by the end of a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, said Ginny Painter, senior vice president of communications and marketing for Marshall.

Your Neanderthal DNA might actually be doing you some good

neanderthals3Most human genomes harbor small fragments of Neanderthal DNA, the legacy of prehistoric hanky-panky between our ancestors and their hominid cousins.
For the most part, that inheritance has been detrimental. Research suggests that as much as 10 percent of the human genome was inherited from archaic hominids other than Homo sapiens, but the majority of that material was weeded out by tens of thousands of years of natural selection. The DNA that does remain has been blamed for increasing risk of depression, Type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, lupus, allergies, addiction and more.

A Skeleton Found in a Castle Could Be the Key to Cracking a 17th-Century Cold Case

george-iToday, any scandal by a member of the United Kingdom’s royal family will likely end up plastered on the front page of gossip magazines. But for centuries, intrigue among blue bloods carried much deadlier consequences. Now, as Alison Smale reports for The New York Times, a skeleton recently unearthed in a German castle could shed light on a 17th-century cold case linked to a then-future monarch.

Closure of APD’s DNA lab causing crisis in the court system

navy DNAAUSTIN (KXAN) — The closure of the Austin Police Department’s DNA lab has created a problem within the Travis Criminal Justice System. KXAN has learned DNA in violent crimes such as sexual assault and murder are not being analyzed in a timely manner.

Local DNA testing links 300-year-old remains of a baby to a Colonial Md. governor

anne-calvertThe surviving pieces of the baby’s skull are paper thin in places. There are holes in the cranium. And the infant has the classic “rosary bead” rib deformities of the ancient childhood disease rickets.
Some of the bones with the tiny skeleton on the Smithsonian lab table also show evidence of anemia. And the infant probably had scurvy, from a lack of vitamin C.
Much is known about the 6-month-old who died in Maryland 300 years ago and was buried in a small lead-covered coffin. Yet there is no record of the child’s death — or birth. No one knew for certain who the infant was. No one knew if the baby was a boy or girl.

Belgium wants to invest 10 million euros in a DNA database

scientist1Belgium is thinking of investing 10 million euros in a technological platform that would register the DNA of tens of millions of Belgians, L’Echo reported on Saturday.

Greeks travelled to China 1,500 years before Marco Polo and may have built Terracotta Army

navy DNA…An extensive study of sites in Xinjiang Province, China, has revealed European-specific mitochondrial DNA, suggesting Westerners travelled, settled and died there before and during the time of the First Emperor — 1,500 years earlier than currently accepted……An extensive study of sites in Xinjiang Province, China, has revealed European-specific mitochondrial DNA, suggesting Westerners travelled, settled and died there before and during the time of the First Emperor — 1,500 years earlier than currently accepted…

Rape Survivor Unexpectedly Meets the Woman Who Sent Her Attacker to Jail: ‘She’s My Lifesaver’

lisbeth-and-julieJulie Weil survived the unthinkable — a brutal kidnapping and rape — that kept her homebound for six months until her attacker was caught. It was a DNA match that nailed her attacker, dubbed the “daycare rapist,” and last week, 14 years later and now working as an advocate for rape survivors, Weil was speaking at a conference, unaware that the DNA analyst that solved her case was in the audience.

Forensics @ NIST 2016

NIST Forensics LogoJoin us for Forensics @NIST, November 8-9, 2016, when you will have the opportunity to visit the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, meet our scientists, and learn how they are using advanced methods in metrology, computer science, and statistics to strengthen forensic science.

DNA Evidence Collected By M-Vac Key In Prosecuting 18-Year-Old Cold Case

navy DNAKrystal Beslanowitch, a 17-year-old girl who was brutally murdered in 1995, can finally rest in peace. Her killer, Joseph Michael Simpson, was found guilty by a jury Thursday, September 29, 2016, and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in the Utah 4th District Court (Case #131500240) in Heber City, Utah. According to court documents, Krystal’s naked body and the granite river rocks used to bludgeon her to death were found on December 15, 1995, next to the Provo River in Wasatch County, about 40 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. Despite the best efforts of the investigators the case went cold for almost 18 years.

Milwaukee man released after serving 24 years in prison for sexual assault

DNA and justiceMILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man who has served 24 years in prison for sexual assault and burglary of has been exonerated — and on Wednesday, October 5th, he walked out of prison.

“I did 24 and some odd years for something that I believe they knew I didn’t do it. I came in mid-20s. I’m almost 50 now. My whole life has changed. They had old-school telephones back then. Now they’ve got computers. I don’t know nothing about this!” Daryl Holloway said.