Author Archives: ForensicConnect

Ultrasensitive protein method lets scientists ID someone from a single strand of hair

A new forensic technique could have criminals—and some prosecutors—tearing their hair out: Researchers have developed a method they say can identify a person from as little as 1 centimeter of a single strand of hair—and that is eight times more sensitive than similar protein analysis techniques. If the new method ever makes it into the courtroom, it could greatly expand the ability to identify the people at the scene of a crime.

The truth about the NYPD and DNA: Keep open vital database invaluable in solving crimes

In the past six years, the NYPD has made New York a safer and fairer city in numerous ways, scaling back on arrests by 45% and targeting our investigative resources with far greater precision than in the past. Restricting or prohibiting the use of DNA and photo-recognition technologies would force investigators to fall back on less reliable and accurate means of identification, including eyewitnesses, who are less successful than technology at identifying people accurately.

Chinese parents test DNA to check if kids will become prodigies

Gene Discovery does brisk business hawking DNA tests out of a warren of rooms in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district. More than half of its clients are from China’s mainland, where parents eager to shape their offspring into prodigies are fuelling the advance of a growing but largely unregulated industry. It’s a Chinese version of helicopter parenting that reflects the country’s tendency to push the boundaries when it comes to genetics, part of a broader race to dominate the field with ramifications for how the life-altering science is used throughout the world.

DNA holds promise in finding fugitive Lester Eubanks but FBI rules, privacy questions loom

The Marshals have been trying to gain approvals to compare his biological son’s DNA against samples of DNA collected from unsolved crime scene evidence around the country in hopes that it will yield a match and offer hints to Eubanks’ new identity or recent location.

New DNA investigation technique helps solve 2 SoCal cold cases

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) — Authorities are pursuing a first-of-its-kind case in Los Angeles County – a murder prosecution using evidence from a commercial genealogy database.

How massively parallel sequencing platforms are revolutionizing forensic analysis

In this expert interview, we hear from Prof. Bobby LaRue about improved depth of coverage and high-power discrimination in mixed DNA analysis

Colombia adoptees find family decades after volcano tragedy

BOGOTA, Colombia — Jenifer de la Rosa was just a week old when Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz volcano exploded, unleashing a wall of mud that buried an entire town and left 25,000 dead.
In the chaotic aftermath of the 1985 disaster the infant was handed over to a Red Cross worker and eventually adopted by a Spanish couple.
Now a documentary filmmaker, she’s been on a quest to answer one question that has haunted her: What happened to her biological family?

Police arrest alleged ‘Potomac River Rapist’ linked to attacks in Maryland and Georgetown

New advances in genetic testing allowed police to have the genetic samples collected at crime scenes compared with people who submitted their DNA to explore their family lineage. That led police to five relatives, and detectives narrowed the list to a suspect who had lived in Maryland at the time of the attacks and worked as a landscaper.

Database to help police investigate crime is underway in Bahrain

Bahrain is also adopting a number of new technologies in the field to better equip police forces in combating crime, revealed Public Security chief Major General Tariq Al Hassan.
He was speaking yesterday on the sidelines of the third GCC Forensic Conference and Exhibition held at the Gulf Hotel Bahrain, where he highlighted a reduction in the crime rate in the country despite rising security threats around the region.

In France, it’s illegal for consumers to order a DNA spit kit. Activists are fighting over lifting the ban

The French ban on direct-to-consumer genetic testing is part of the country’s bioethics laws, which legislators are supposed to revise every seven years. When those discussions got under way earlier this year, some geneticists expected the National Assembly to relax the rules about commercial DNA analysis. It didn’t. Now, Jovanovic-Floricourt and the other genetics enthusiasts in her education and advocacy group, DNA Pass, are agitating more and more to get some of these tests legalized, contacting lawmakers, chatting up scientists, promising a more vociferous campaign than they’ve waged before.

EFF Sues DHS to Obtain Information About the Agency’s Use of Rapid DNA Testing on Migrant Families at the Border

San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today to obtain information that will shine a light on the agency’s use of Rapid DNA technology on migrant families at the border to verify biological parent-child relationships.

Bode Technology Names New Director of Forensic Genealogy

Bode Technology (Bode), a leading provider of forensic DNA services, welcomed their new Director of Forensic Genealogy, Melinde Lutz Byrne, to the organization. Byrne’s team will strengthen efforts in expanding Bode’s Forensic Genealogy Service (FGS) to ultimately provide investigative leads to law enforcement through proven genealogy and DNA analysis methods.

The Australian peering into the mind of America’s worst serial killer

There have been several advances in DNA technology over Williamson’s career, but she says a recent “gamechanger” has been the growth of genetic genealogy services used to trace family trees. They allow investigators to identify criminals among the relatives of those who upload their DNA profiles.
Joseph DeAngelo, the so-called Golden State Killer, was arrested in April 2018 after police used public genealogy databases to link him to DNA from the crime scenes.
While there are obvious privacy concerns about the practice, Williamson says it is invaluable in solving crimes and providing justice to victims’ families.
“There are 240,000 unsolved homicides in this country and that is too many,” she says. “Everyone’s story deserves an ending.”

Richard Wilbern Found Guilty In 2003 Xerox Federal Credit Union Robbery

The verdict is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gary Loeffert; the Webster Police Department, under the direction of Chief Joseph P. Rieger, the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Eric Laughton, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Todd Baxter, the Rochester Police Department, under
the direction of Chief La’Ron Singletary, the United States Marshals Service, under the direction of Charles Salina, and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Sandra Doorley.

DNA Analysis of Ancient Rome Reveals a Cosmopolitan Megacity

A new collection of DNA from ancient Romans spanning 12,000 years shows how the population of the empire’s capital shifted along with its politics. Published in Science, the timeline is one of the first to examine what genetic information from archaeological digs says about the region after the time of hunter-gatherers and early farmers.