Monthly Archives: December 2017

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to our Readers!

As 2017 draws to a close, we would like to take a moment to let you all know that we at Promega are grateful everyday for your readership and support. We value your contributions to the world of forensics. We know that your achievements and successes come after spending hours of hard work and trying new ideas.

Stephen Hawking said, “Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations. Examples include the double helix in biology and the fundamental equations of physics.”

We hope you have a beautiful 2018.

The 5 Most Fascinating Skeletons Of 2017

This year has been a good one for skeletons. Bioarchaeological and forensic research continues to be published in a growing number of specialty and general academic journals, and it’s also being covered by mass media news outlets — from the well-known National Geographic and LiveScience to the up-and-coming SAPIENS. But these are the five most fascinating skeletons that I covered here at Forbes in 2017:

5,000 rape kits result in 1,300 DNA “hits” in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) – Nearly 5,600 previously unprocessed sexual assault kits have now been tested, according to new statistics released by the attorney general’s office.
These recently processed kits have resulted in nearly 1,400 hits in a federal DNA database. Prior to a 2016 law, Florida had not required rape kits to be tested.

Schimel defends delays in rape kit testing

Wisconsin’s top prosecutor is addressing delays in clearing a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits.
The Department of Justice received a $2 million federal grant in 2015 to test 6,386 rape kits from sexual assault cases that had been left untouched. In some cases, the kits had been in police evidence lockers and hospitals for decades after not being processed for a variety of reasons, such as the crime being solved without the use of DNA evidence.

Trial in 1987 Billings rape case on hold as Montana Supreme Court considers statute of limitations

BILLINGS — The Montana Supreme Court is now reviewing whether charges against a man accused of raping a Billings girl in 1987 were filed outside the statute of limitations.
The trial for Ronald Tipton, 57, was set to begin in early December, but the case is now on hold as the high court weighs in.
Tipton was charged in 2015 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent for the 1987 rape of an 8-year-old girl.

‘All pieces of puzzle fell together’: Familial DNA helps crack case of woman murdered on Mother’s Day, police say

BAYTOWN, Texas — A man has been charged in the death of Nataliya Shal, whose body was found lying on the floor of her Baytown apartment on Mother’s Day 2016. The case went cold for nearly a year and a half until forensic evidence, much like that seen on a CSI television show, helped lead investigators to her alleged killer.

Hoover man named head of Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences

A nationally-recognized veteran in the field of forensic science has been named as the director of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.
Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday announced the appointment of Angelo Della Manna. The Hoover man, currently the deputy director, will take over the agency’s top spot on Jan. 1.

DNA Analysis Finds Descendants of ‘Warriors of the Clouds’ in Peru

The Chachapoyas, the “Warriors of the Clouds,” were a people that lived in the northern elevations of Peru, and put up a long-running struggle against the Inca Empire, which they eventually lost. Traditional tales told to the first Spanish conquerors of the New World about a century after their final defeat held that the Inca forcibly relocated the Chachapoyas to the corners of the massive empire, so they could never again pose a threat.

State crime lab braces for impact of new DNA profiling law

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Indiana lawmakers are expecting more criminal cases solved next year.
Starting in January, suspects arrested on probable cause for any felony charge will open themselves to scrutiny in other cases, thanks to Indiana’s new DNA profiling legislation.

Immigrants hope DNA will guide them to lost loved ones

WASHINGTON — The relatives carried photographs, identification cards, anything that might help find the missing. Inside a red-brick church in the nation’s capital, in a small room near a sparkling Christmas tree, they opened their mouths so workers could scrape a sample of their DNA.
Three brothers, in black jackets and matching jeans, sought the fate of a sister who vanished in the Arizona desert two years ago. Housecleaner Olga Gonzalez, of Maryland, was searching for her daughter, Mirna, 31 years old when she disappeared in 2013.

Governor Cuomo Signs Otis/Savino Missing Persons Bill

NEW YORK, NY — Legislation to require that reports of missing children and adults filed in New York be transmitted to the National Missing and Unidentified Remains System (NamUs) was signed into law by the Governor on November 29. The legislation, A8286B/S6739, was sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Otis (91st AD, Westchester County) and Senator Diane Savino (23rd SD, Staten Island).
The bill will promote more comprehensive sharing of missing persons data to aid law enforcement in the resolution of such cases and help families dealing with the heartbreak of a missing loved one.

Father of DNA fingerprints Prof Lalji Singh passes away

VARANASI: DNA Scientist and former BHU VC Prof Lalji Singh passed away on Sunday. He was 70. He held the position of BHU VC from August 22, 2011 to August 22, 2014. He is considered to be father of DNA fingerprints, who worked in the area of molecular basis of sex determination, wildlife conservation, forensics and evolution and migration of humans.

ICMP decides to move the DNA laboratory from Sarajevo to The Hague

As political issues took the leading place in the news, another problem which makes life in BiH more complicated for citizens who are still trying to find the remains of their relatives, who they lost during the war in BiH, remained in the dark. The International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) was assigned to do the job but, recently, they moved the DNA laboratory from Sarajevo to The Hague, despite the disagreement of local institutions.

Evolving forensic science prompts new look at old convictions

On the morning of Oct. 8, 1988, Lloyd Martz’s ex-wife found him slumped in the corner of his bedroom. The 49-year-old car leasing agent had been stabbed and beaten with a fire poker.
During his autopsy, a medical examiner noticed bite marks on his shoulders. Inside his Mercedes convertible, investigators found strands of brown hair.

First genetic map of Ireland going back to ancient times revealed

The next time a Cork man tells you he’s from the People’s Republic, or a Kerryman declares that he is from the Kingdom and is, therefore, special, pay attention. They may, in fact, have a point.
The first genetic map of the people of all parts of Ireland carried out by a team of geneticists and genealogists shows there are subtle DNA differences between people across the island.