Author Archives: ForensicConnect

Recent Discoveries Have Overhauled Our Picture of Where Humans Came From, And When

In recent years, anthropologists around the world have discovered new human ancestors, figured out what happened to the Neanderthals, and pushed back the age of the earliest member of our species.
Taken together, these breakthroughs suggest that many of our previous ideas about the human origin story – who we are and where we came from – were wrong.

Search, repatriation of Vietnamese martyrs’ remains in Laos, Cambodia intensified

Carrying out search and repatriation of 1,500-2,000 sets of remains of Vietnamese soldiers who laid down their lives in Laos and Cambodia during wartime is a key task of the national steering committee on search, repatriation and identification of remains of fallen soldiers.

Man ordered to stand trial in 1994 cold case Madison homicide

A man charged with first-degree reckless homicide for the 1994 death of a woman in Madison was ordered to stand trial after a preliminary hearing Thursday, and after a judge denied a motion to dismiss the charge.

He escaped from jail after allegedly killing his wife a century ago. Now his headless torso has been identified through DNA.

The story in the June 1916 Idaho newspaper was alarming: A man suspected of brutally murdering his wife “escaped on May 18 from custody and has not been caught.”
He was never seen again.

Trump Reauthorizes Debbie Smith Act To Eliminate Rape Kit Backlogs Across U.S.

President Donald Trump signed legislation Monday that allocates funding to help states clear the backlog of more than 100,000 rape kits across the country, ending several years of nationwide initiatives to get federal support.

Etched in DNA: Decoding the secrets of the past

Human origins research. The phrase probably evokes an image of dusty scientists hunched over in the sun, combing the ground for scraps left behind by people of millennia past. The field has long been the realm of stones and bones, with test tube-filled laboratories playing second fiddle.

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.