Daily Archives: February 4, 2020

How do we test for coronavirus, anyway?

A rundown of the biology behind testing for a virus we hadn’t seen before.
The first challenge of sequencing a coronavirus genome is that it’s made of RNA rather than DNA. Most of our tools for working with nucleic acids are specific to DNA. Fortunately, we’ve discovered an enzyme called “reverse transcriptase” that takes RNA and makes a DNA copy of it—

New bill would allow more DNA testing in old cases

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) — Advances in DNA testing now make it possible to identify perpetrators that would have gone undetected a decade or two ago, but people convicted of a crime have been blocked from having crime scene DNA except in the most unusual circumstances.
However, new legislation could lead to more being exonerations and convictions.

City Agrees to Test DNA in Landmark Case That Could Exonerate an Executed Man

On Friday, the city of Jacksonville, Arkansas, agreed to test DNA evidence in the case of Ledell Lee, who was put to death in 2017 after the Supreme Court voted 5–4 to allow the state to proceed with a series of executions to meet a deadline for an expiring lethal injection cocktail. Questions have swirled around Lee’s possible innocence for decades. The city’s decision clears a major hurdle in a case that could result in DNA evidence for the first time proving that a state has wrongfully executed an innocent man.

DNA Twice Clears Man Falsely Accused After 1991 Homicide

Fresh DNA evidence testing gave closure to a 1991 New Jersey cold case murder. It has cleared a man twice who was falsely accused of killing a 58-year-old woman, prosecutors said Friday.