Monthly Archives: March 2018

13,000-Year-Old Human Footprints Found—Oldest Yet From North America

When humans were walking around the west coast of current day Canada 13,000 years ago, they left behind footprints.
That’s according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE that outlines the discovery of 29 human footprints found at the shoreline of Calvert Island in British Columbia.

Divided by DNA: The uneasy relationship between archaeology and ancient genomics

Two fields in the midst of a technological revolution are struggling to reconcile their views of the past.

Thirty kilometres north of Stonehenge, through the rolling countryside of southwest England, stands a less-famous window into Neolithic Britain. Established around 3600 BC by early farming communities, the West Kennet long barrow is an earthen mound with five chambers, adorned with giant stone slabs. At first, it served as a tomb for some three dozen men, women and children. But people continued to visit for more than 1,000 years, filling the chambers with relics such as pottery and beads that have been interpreted as tributes to ancestors or gods.

DNA helps Green Bay Police solve 3 ‘scary’ cold cases in 1 month

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — Green Bay Police have helped solve three cold cases in the past month, all thanks to DNA evidence.
The cases are sexual assaults in which a stranger attacked a woman.
“They’re difficult ones, the scary ones to try to solve, because it’s hard to find the suspect,” said Commander Jim Runge with the Green Bay Police Dept.
Two of the cases date back to 2011. One case is from 2014.
In all three cases, police had no good leads. That’s until DNA from the attacker was collected and entered into the national DNA database.

Gov. Justice signs DNA testing bill

CHARLESTON – Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday signed a bill into law that intends to reduce the processing time of DNA lab tests, especially in cases of sexual assault.
The bill will allow the West Virginia State Police to contract with the Marshall University Forensic Science Center to process lab work related to the testing of offender samples for the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and DNA testing in criminal paternity cases, criminal casework and identification of human remains. It also sets out parameters by which law enforcement and correctional officers can use reasonable force to obtain DNA samples and allows for the collection of non-blood sampling of DNA (mouth swabs).

New Solicitation: Forensic DNA Laboratory Efficiency Improvement and Capacity Enhancement Program

The EI&CE program awards funding to eligible entities, through a competitive application process with three program objectives:
Enhancing the capacity and increasing the efficiency of crime laboratories to process, record, screen, and analyze DNA and other forensic evidence
Decreasing the turnaround time to process and analyze DNA evidence.
Ensuring continued support for enhancing the quality of DNA analysis results.
All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 7, 2018.

Review Solicitation Here!

New Solicitation: DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program (Formula)

NIJ is seeking applications for the FY 2018 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) program.
This program furthers the Department’s mission by funding 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.
All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 7, 2018.

Review Solicitation Here!

SDPD Crime Lab Using DNA From Ammunition to Link Suspects to Crimes

DNA profiling has proven invaluable to investigators with the San Diego Police Department, as advancing computer software connects evidence to suspects.
But until recently, shell casings left at crime scenes were not tested for DNA.

Promega Webinar Postponed

We regret that due to unforeseen circumstances we must postpone this webinar. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We will notify you as soon as a new date and time is chosen. Thank you for your understanding.

Smoothing the Transition to MPS for Forensic Laboratories
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Forensic laboratories have much to consider before adopting massively parallel sequencing (MPS). In this webinar, Dr. de Knijff will discuss considerations around implementation of MPS in the forensic laboratory. View additional information below.

Time: 16:00 GMT+1
10:00am EST
09:00am CST
07:00am PST

Exonerated Tennessee Man Gets $1M After 31 Years in Prison

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man who spent 31 years in prison before new DNA evidence led to his 1978 rape and burglary convictions being overturned has been awarded $1 million in damages.
The Tennessean reports that the Tennessee Board of Claims voted unanimously Wednesday to award the sum to 61-year-old Lawrence McKinney, who was released in 2009.

Cornyn, Poe Introduce Bill To Reauthorize The Debbie Smith Act, Provide Resources To Fight Rape Kit Backlogs

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representative Ted Poe (TX-02) today introduced the Debbie Smith Crime Victims Protection Act, legislation to reauthorize the Debbie Smith Act and dedicate much-needed resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct forensic analyses of crime scenes, including untested rape kits. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) cosponsored the bill.

Intermountain Healthcare to Build Global DNA Registry with AncestryDNA, 23andMe Data

Intermountain Healthcare is building a new global DNA registry based on medical histories from people around the world, using existing genetic test results and electronic health histories.
The new DNA database, the GeneRosity Registry, will enable researchers to find genetic codes that determine who’s at risk of developing genetic health problems and help them quickly and economically.

DNA’s Newfound Power for Crime-Solving

DNA is the gold standard when it comes to crime-solving. Linking shreds of DNA evidence together, forensic investigators can provide reliable proof that ties an offender to a crime or exonerates the innocent. Successfully used by both prosecutors and the defense, DNA testing has come to be regarded as the bread and butter of forensic investigation.

Promega’s taking the show on the road with all the Power to Solve

Please join us for presentations and discussions on the latest advances in STR analysis and the forensics workflow, including updates on the Spectrum CE Systems. The workshop will feature presentations by leaders in the forensics community who will provide information and tips on maximizing success with challenging samples and improving laboratory efficiencies through workflow enhancements. The presentations will also include customer experiences and insights from using Promega products.
These seminars are FREE of charge to individuals involved in forensics. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Space is limited, so be sure to register early!

Exclusive: Royal Burial in Ancient Canaan May Shed New Light on Biblical City

An undisturbed elite tomb discovered in ancient Armageddon is replete with gold offerings—and the promise of unlocking secrets with DNA analysis.

Tim Schellberg: Without Criminal Databases, DNA Machine Can’t Work

While the state Forensics Science Laboratory (FSL), Kalina, is in a tizzy over the possible acquisition of the sophisticated Rapid DNA Analysis System that is said to help speed up criminal investigations, an expert on the issue believes the decision is unwise.
Tim Schellberg, President of Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Governmental Affairs, USA, strongly feels that the machine cannot be used for actual crime scene analysis, and it is at present used only for reference sample analysis in advanced countries where DNA profiling data banks are available. India may make use of this technology, in years to come, when they have the data bank ready.