Author Archives: ForensicConnect

How an Unlikely Family History Website Transformed Cold Case Investigations

Fifteen murder and sexual assault cases have been solved since April with a single genealogy website. This is how GEDmatch went from a casual side project to a revolutionary tool.

New DNA search helps crack Wisconsin murder

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) — Many unsolved crimes are missing one key piece of evidence. Another look at a strand of DNA could lead to the match needed to crack a case.
The State Crime Lab in Madison is now looking for more genetic markers when they analyze DNA. The goal: find a true match.
“We made that little modification in the search parameters which allows us to now see potentially more matches,” says Jenn Naugle, Deputy Director, Wisconsin Crime Lab Bureau.

Swabbing DNA on Phones Reveals Mysteries of Microbial World Around Us

Xconomy Wisconsin — Ask someone “What’s on your phone?” and he or she might respond with some combination of photos, music, contacts, and mobile apps. But a series of interactive experiments co-led by a prominent geneticist are answering the question in a different way, by swabbing the surface of smartphones and telling their owners what bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other plant and animal matter are detected.
Chris Mason, a genomics professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, was the keynote speaker at the Wisconsin BioHealth Summit, an event held Tuesday in Madison, WI, and organized by BioForward, the state’s flagship life sciences advocacy group. Attendees were encouraged to have the DNA on their phones swabbed and analyzed on site.

‘Incorrect’ Testimony of Famous Forensic Scientist Henry Lee At Heart Of Supreme Court Hearing

Long before he became an internationally known forensic expert, Henry C. Lee’s 1989 testimony in a Litchfield courtroom helped convict two local teenagers of a brutal murder in New Milford.
With his usual dramatic flair, Lee told jurors that a towel he had found in the bathroom of the home where the killing occurred had a spot on it that he had tested and found was “consistent with blood.” The teens were tried separately, and the prosecutor’s closing argument in the first trial cited the bloody towel. While the state presented no evidence that the blood on the towel belonged to the defendant, it argued the towel proved that the reason there was no blood found in his car was that he cleaned it off in the bathroom.

Klobuchar, Cornyn Bill to help prosecute criminals in DNA cold cases signed into law

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn’s (R-TX) Justice Served Act was signed into law to help prosecute criminals in DNA cold cases, said a news release Thursday.
The bipartisan bill will provide funds to prosecute cold cases using DNA evidence, such as rape kit backlog cases and cases involving other violent crimes.

Argentina’s Province of Mendoza Recognized for Establishing Criminal Offender DNA Database Program

MENDOZA, Argentina, Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Mendoza Governor Alfredo Cornejo and Attorney General Alejandro Gullé received the “Katie’s Hero Crime Fighting Award” for demonstrating their commitment to victims and protecting public safety by establishing a criminal offender DNA database for Mendoza. DNA Saves, an organization that advocates for the creation of criminal offender DNA databases, provides this award to government officials who recognize the power of DNA databases to solve and prevent crime, and who demonstrate leadership in bringing these databases to their communities.

DNA deep dive: Scientists devise new forensic dye to catch criminals

Scientists have developed a special dye that lets researchers see otherwise invisible traces of DNA, Paul Kirkbride, a forensic science professor at Flinders University and co-author of the research paper, told Fox News.

Casting a wider net: Target 2 Investigates expanded DNA search

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – A change in the way scientists look at DNA is being credited for leading Brown County investigators to a suspect in a two-year old murder.

Content for Humans About the Content of Humans

The pitch for home DNA testing could not be more succinct: know thyself, for a fee.
The need to know is treated as self-evident. But what we can actually learn is much trickier. 23andMe, for example, promises to help you know “how your genetics can influence your risk for certain diseases,” including Alzheimers, which is something one might want to know, if only to not not know. That you’re a carrier for a hereditary disease is more clearly need-to-know information than, say, your “genetic weight” — an estimate of what you are predisposed to weigh, according to a supposed average — which seems like it could provide, at best, qualified relief.

$13.7 million forensics lab opens south Centennial Airport

Colorado-It’s been three years in the making, but the Unified Forensic Lab is finally open for business and a tour was given to the press Sept. 27 and began accepting evidence this week.
It started in January 2015 when Tony Spurlock, Douglas County Sheriff (DCSO), began discussions with the Aurora Police, the Arapahoe County Sheriff and the 18th Judicial District to combine forces or a new crime lab.
The final building, south of Centennial Airport in the Meridian Industrial Park, cost $13.7 million is 26,500 square feet with the ability to add on as needed.

North Carolina Launches Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System

The North Carolina sexual assault tracking system launches Monday. It allows victims of sexual assaults who get a forensic exam to track where their evidence is and if it’s been tested. Idaho, Arkansas and a few other states have similar systems.
It’s been somewhat of a mystery for sexual assault survivors to find out what happened to their sexual assault evidence kits and where they ended up. The shoe box size container full of DNA evidence can take hours to collect, and in some cases, can be vital to identifying a perpetrator.

LGC Genomics Division Rebrands as LGC Biosearch Technologies, Focuses on Nucleic Acid Offering

“We are still LGC, and what we’re doing is launching a portfolio brand, which is representative of our entire genomic division portfolio,” Dearden explained. “LGC Biosearch Technologies is an umbrella brand that brings together the collection of our legacy brands and products we have in our genomic division.”

Predictive Technology Group Acquires DNA, Ancestry Assets From Taueret Laboratories

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Salt Lake City-based biotech holding corporation Predictive Technology Group announced today that it has acquired DNA and ancestry assets from Taueret Laboratories.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

DNA evidence links Muhammad Ali to heroic slave, family says

When Cassius Clay joined the Nation of Islam in 1964 and changed his name to Muhammad Ali he had a straightforward explanation. “Why should I keep my white slavemaster’s name visible and my black ancestors invisible, unknown, unhonored?” Ali asked.
Then, it was more of an abstract concept, a statement against white oppression; Ali did not know much, if anything, about his ancestors or his own family tree. Decades later, though, Ali’s family has made a discovery that appears to shed new light on the boxer’s lineage — where he came from, and also his place American history. Ali, according to his family’s research, is the great-great-great grandson of Archer Alexander, a slave who heroically fought both for his own freedom and against slavery.

New DNA test a ‘eureka moment’ in revealing who is behind a crime

Criminals who naturally shed more DNA than others could be linked to a crime scene with greater accuracy, following the advent of a new DNA test developed by Australian researchers.
The test, which involves the use of a binding dye, allows investigators to determine where DNA evidence has been left behind at a crime scene, potentially cutting the cost of expensive forensic laboratory testing and dramatically reducing the time it takes to identify a DNA profile.