Monthly Archives: December 2019

Despite the Same DNA, Severity of Autism Symptoms Varies Greatly Among Identical Twins

Identical twins with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience large differences in symptom severity even though they share the same DNA, according to an analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggest that identifying the causes of this variability may inform the treatment of ASD-related symptoms. The study was conducted by John Constantino, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues. Funding was provided by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The study was published in Behavior Genetics on December 18, 2019.

Crime labs analyze science behind crime

Law enforcement officials across New York are not the only ones preparing for criminal justice reforms in the state.
Scientists who analyze police evidence are preparing for an increase in cases, as reforms to discovery law require all discoverable materials to be turned over to the defense 15 days after arraignment.

Why China Is the Brave New World of Editing Human DNA

The headline-making births in November 2018 of the world’s first gene-edited babies (twin girls) was unsurprising in one way: The scientist involved was from China. As part of its effort to dominate scientific spheres including biotechnology, China has taken the lead in testing uses of Crispr, a tool newly available to researchers enabling them to alter DNA codes simply and inexpensively. Chinese scientists were the first to test Crispr in monkey embryos, in non-viable human embryos, in adult humans, and now in creating designer babies. Now China is confronting accusations that its regulatory system is overlooking the ethical considerations and medical risks.

United States to aid Mexico in creating two genetic databases to combat crime

The United States will provide assistance to Mexico to develop two genetic databases in 2020, according to U.S. government documents seen by the newspaper Milenio.

Pentagon warns home DNA tests pose ‘personal and operational risks’ to military members

The Pentagon has advised military members to avoid using take-home DNA kits because of concerns about “unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” according to Yahoo News, which first reported on the internal memo. The memo doesn’t specifically lay out what the exact risks are, but it appears that it’s a generalized concern over health information affecting a military member’s ability to serve.T

Advanced Forensic DNA Centre at CFSL to be inaugurated

INDIA- Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai will inaugurate the “Advanced Forensic DNA Centre” at CFSL, Chandigarh on Monday.
“With the opening of this Advanced Forensic DNA Laboratory, it shall provide quality forensic service in time bound manner on one hand and shall act as a model reference Lab for development of projects and related R&D activities in the field for various Central and State FSLs on the other,” a statement issued here on Friday said.

Man free after serving 9-years for a crime he didn’t commit

The Innocence Project of Texas did agree to examine his case, and contacted a DNA analysis firm to look at the evidence. They found the initial DNA profile was incorrect, and matched it to a man who had gone on to commit more crimes while Grant was in prison.
“It’s the first time to my knowledge a non-law enforcement project such as the Innocence Project of Texas has cracked the case, by initiating a nationwide DNA database search,” said Mike Ware, with the Innocence Project.

What You’re Unwrapping When You Get a DNA Test for Christmas

So what do these developments mean for that DNA kit sitting under your Christmas tree? Men’s Journal calls them “one of the hottest gifting ideas,” and US Weekly promises that “they’re going to love it, no matter how tough of a critic they are.” But is using one of these kits also opening the door to letting the police use your DNA to arrest your cousin?

DNA from 5,700-year-old ‘gum’ shows what one ancient woman may have looked like

The rise of ancient genomics has revolutionised our understanding of human prehistory but this work depends on the availability of suitable samples. Here we present a complete ancient human genome and oral microbiome sequenced from a 5700 year-old piece of chewed birch pitch from Denmark.

Maloney Hails Senate Passage of Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney’s (D-NY) H.R. 777 – Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2019 passed the Senate by unanimous consent. This bipartisan bill was introduced with Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) in January and passed the House in October.

Nearly 40 Years After College Student’s Stabbing Death, Genetic Records Lead to a Suspect

For nearly 40 years, the murder of a college student, Helene Pruszynski, stumped Colorado detectives. The cold case languished for so long that all but one of her immediate family members had died.
But then on Thursday, Ms. Pruszynski’s older sister, Janet Johnson, got a phone call: A prosecutor said homicide investigators had made a breakthrough thanks to advances in genetic genealogy and dogged police work.

Two Colorado Courts Rule Use of STRmix Admissible

STRmix™ – sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret – has been ruled admissible in two recent Colorado court cases.

A new study shows an animal’s lifespan is written in the DNA. For humans, it’s 38 years

Our research, published today in Scientific Reports, looked at how DNA changes as an animal ages – and found that it varies from species to species and is related to how long the animal is likely to live.

Years later, DNA evidence links New Orleans serial rapist to Kansas City cases

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “Justice can come, even though it can come late,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.
Charges filed this week against an accused serial rapist make that statement ring true.

Rapid DNA technology piloted by Edmonton Police Service

Rapid DNA biometric technology funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and developed by Massachusetts- and Colorado-based ANDE Corporation is now used by Edmonton police for a 90-day pilot, the first police service in Canada to test the victim identification instrument, reports CBC.