Daily Archives: September 6, 2018

Through fragments of long-lost lives, lab aims to give military families a measure of peace

HONOLULU — A Christmas card arrives every December in Bill Belcher’s mailbox, sent by the daughter of a 1940s fighter pilot he unearthed in the mountains of Papua New Guinea.
The excavation was 20 years ago. But like the resolve of other military families awaiting the discovery of some trace of a loved one, the woman’s gratitude for her father’s repatriated remains hasn’t diminished with time.

DNA Analysis Reveals History of Ancient Warriors

In 1962, an Alemannic burial site containing human skeletal remains was discovered in Niederstotzingen (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Researchers at the Eurac Research Centre in Bozen-Bolzano, Italy, and at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, have now examined the DNA of these skeletal remains.

Advances in DNA analysis help Spanish police solve old crimes

The biologist Antonio Alonso explains that due to the lack of evidence, in 2004 the police asked the National Toxicology and Forensic Science Institute for a thorough analysis of some of Inmaculada’s clothes. Alonso’s team then achieved what had previously been considered impossible: they detected microscopic traces of a man’s saliva on the shirt and bra of the girl. The scientists got to work. The DNA analysis showed that the Y chromosome that passes from fathers to their male offspring was very similar to that of another man in Inmaculada’s close circle from whom samples had been taken. His surname was Muñoz-Quirós.

Under the Microscope – Lynndsey Simon

Current extraction methods employed by the Columbus Police Forensic Services Center use incubation times that can exceed two hours and require subsequent purification on robotic instrumentation. Promega’s Casework Direct kit allows for the rapid processing of casework samples with no subsequent purification of the lysate required prior to STR amplification.

In her presentation at ISHI, Lynndsey Simon (Columbus Police Forensic Services Center) will describe how her lab is using the Casework Direct Kit to shorten processing times for casework samples and why they’re considering using the kit as the main extraction method for all samples (excluding hairs).

We sat down with Lynndsey and asked her how the Casework Direct Kit has changed her lab’s procedure when processing casework samples, how this has helped to reduce the lab’s backlog, and what she feels are the biggest challenges that forensic laboratories are facing today.

Researchers use DNA to ID shark tooth taken from boy’s leg

University of Florida researchers compared DNA from the tooth to a genetic dataset of sharks to determine its species. Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, said it’s the first time a shark involved in a bite has been identified using DNA.