Author Archives: ForensicConnect

Johnny Lee Gates Free 43 Years After He Claimed Innocence

Johnny Lee Gates’ 43 year saga in the criminal justice system is over.
Gates was convicted of killing a 19 year old woman in 1976 but claimed he was wrongfully convicted. His defense waged years of legal battles over evidence, racial prejudice and the defendant’s mental competency before the case reached a conclusion Friday afternoon.

Early results from Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial show participants developed antibodies against the virus

(CNN)Volunteers who received Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine had positive early results, according to the biotech company, which partnered with the National Institutes of Health to develop the vaccine.
If future studies go well, the company’s vaccine could be available to the public as early as January, Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told CNN.

DNA testing is radically reshaping the definition of family

In the 1970s, Robert Jenkinson was newly married with a daughter, looking for a job and in need of extra cash. He settled on sperm donation as a way to allay the last of those concerns while helping other families have children. He never could have expected that, because of DNA testing, the day would come when he would be contacted by the children he helped create. Needless to say, neither could anyone else, including the sperm banks that historically promised anonymity to donors…

A New Tool To Sequence Circular DNA

University of Alberta biologists have invented a new way for sequencing circular DNA, according to a new study. The tool—called CIDER-Seq—will give other scientists rich, accurate data on circular DNA in any type of cell.
While our own DNA is linear, circular DNA is common in the genomes of bacteria and viruses. Scientists have also discovered circular DNA within the nuclei of human and plant cells, called extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA). Recently, research has begun to investigate the role of eccDNA in human cancer—but progress has been hampered due to the lack of effective methods for studying and sequencing eccDNA.

The Justice Files: New DNA lab ready to help solve cold cases

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The logjam to solve cold cases just got a boost from a non-profit group.
Intermountain Forensics opened its doors this month and promises to deliver DNA testing faster and cheaper.

Two New Forensic DNA Standards Added to the OSAC Registry

National forensic science organization approves standards for interpreting DNA mixtures.

Professor’s Groundbreaking Work Helps Set Free Man Wrongly Convicted of Murder

The lead forensic DNA consultant on the case of a Texas man who spent nearly a decade in prison for a crime he did not commit, Angie Ambers, Ph.D., says the cutting-edge DNA technology she applied to set him free could lead to many more people who have been wrongly convicted being released from prison.

Guelph company develops rapid, portable COVID-19 test kit

Test kit takes an hour to get results, is as accurate as lab testing, Precision Biomonitoring says

Gdańsk scientist makes crucial headway in understanding killer virus by isolating COVID-19 DNA from infected patient

The full DNA sequence of the coronavirus virus has been taken from an infected patient after being isolated by scientists at Gdańsk University.
By unravelling the genetic sequence, the researchers can learn a variety of crucial information about the disease, such as how the virus ‘deceives’ the human body, weakening its immune system.

New program in Houston is training future forensic scientists and digitizing DNA evidence

Houston-area’s first-privately held forensic sequencing laboratory has partnered with The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to create an academic program that will provide forensic training to genome scientists that will help them crack previously unsolved criminal cases.

Officials announce world’s oldest cold case solved using genetic genealogy in Colorado

It has been almost 57 years since Margaret “Peggy” Beck, 16, was raped and killed at a Girl Scout camp in Jefferson County. DNA evidence led to an arrest warrant being issued.

I Donated My DNA to Help Stop the Coronavirus

Last night, I entered intimate personal health information into a database that can be accessed by anyone. This is not a decision that I made lightly. I shared my information with the Personal Genome Project (PGP) at Harvard Medical School. Founded in 2005 by Dr. George Church, the PGP represents an ideal, a vision of effecting ultimate progress in DNA science through the generosity of participants willing to expose personal data for a greater good. Before Covid-19, the PGP used this data for open-source research projects to further our understanding of human genetics, biology, and health. The PGP will now singularly focus on Covid-19, studying both those who have the disease and those who don’t.

New BJA Solicitations: Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (Competitive and Formula)

In Fiscal Year 2020, all state and local forensic capacity enhancement programs previously administered by NIJ, including this program, moved to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 19, 2020.

Dinosaur’s 75-Million-Year-Old DNA May Have Been Found, And Why It’s An Epic Discovery

A research team has stumbled upon a discovery that could completely change the way we look at the massive creatures.

Idaho State Police Forensic Services Recognized As One Of The Top-Performing Forensic Labs

(Meridian) The Idaho State Police Forensic Services Laboratory is one of 14 labs worldwide to receive a FORESIGHT Maximus Award, awarded earlier this week. The designation from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), uses standard business metrics to measure the efficiency level demonstrated by the laboratories. To be considered for the award, laboratories must demonstrate a minimum of 90% or better peak efficiency.