Category Archives: Ancestry

A Brief History of Forensics and Human Identification– Infographic

It’s no question that the field of forensic science has come a long way in the past few decades. Some of you reading this article may remember the satisfaction of pouring a perfect gel or the exact method for calculating the half life of the radioactive materials you’d used. If this is you, you likely remember the Frye and Daubert hearings that followed.
As we look forward to the 30th anniversary of The International Symposium on Human Identification, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the advances in forensic science and the people and moments that pushed the field forward. Some of these moments were triumphs in history, and others were times when the community came together following a tragedy. We’ve created an infographic highlighting these moments in time and invite you to scroll through history and perhaps down memory lane a little.
If you’re joining us at ISHI 30 this year, we invite you to celebrate history with us in person! Next to the registration area will be a museum exhibit showcasing historical cases, former technologies, and the people who helped shape history. We thank those who pioneered the field of forensics and look forward to witnessing what the future brings.

An Israeli soldier went MIA 37 years ago. International intrigue and DNA testing brought him home.

TEL AVIV — For decades, Israel’s National Center of Forensic Medicine has tested skeletal remains secreted across its northern border, checking whether the DNA matched that of Israeli soldiers missing in action behind enemy lines in Lebanon or Syria.
“From time to time they’d bring the samples,” said Chen Kugel, the head of the forensics center. “It’s body remains. It’s bones. It was always: maybe this time, maybe this time, maybe this time.”
There was never a match.
Then, earlier this year, a bag of bones arrived, and from the moment it was opened, it looked promising. The staff soon determined that the bones belonged to Staff Sgt. Zachary Baumel, who had gone missing in Lebanon 37 years ago.

The Importance and Impact of Cold Case Units

Practitioners from across the criminal justice system speak to the importance of cold case units and the impact they can have.

Under the Microscope – Jodie Ward

The Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) is the only human decomposition facility in the Southern Hemisphere. In April 2019, the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency DVI Committee (ADVIC) conducted a two-day national DVI exercise at AFTER involving 50 participants representing every police jurisdiction in Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Defence Force, specialist forensic disciplines and mortuary operations. The aim of the exercise was to test the ability of DVI practitioners from multiple jurisdictions to deploy to, and process, a DVI scene and undertake remote post-mortem activities in accordance with INTERPOL DVI Guidelines.

Italian princess ‘inherits £400m artworks’ after proving who her grandfather was

Dialta Alliata Lensi Orlandi has won a 25 year battle after DNA tests revealed she is the granddaughter of art baron Arthur Acton

DNA bus tours New Orleans to collect samples for national medical database

You may have seen the colorful bus around the city, just as 62-year old Sam Frazzella did, and wondered what on earth was going on inside. Turns out it’s one of the largest biomedical research studies in human history, and its results may change medical treatment as we know it.
“I was coming back from seeing my own doctor for my kidney stones, and I saw this giant bus under the bridge,” Frazzella said. He knocked on the door and was told the bus was part of a national research program called All of Us, which is collecting people’s DNA from all over the country. The goal is to develop better treatment for diseases.

In an Apparent First, Genetic Genealogy Aids a Wrongful Conviction Case

It started as a way to trace family history. It evolved into a tool to help solve decades-old cold cases. Now, for apparently the first time, a genealogy database is expected to lead to charges being dropped against an Idaho man convicted in a decades-old rape and murder case.

The ISHI Report

• A guide to interpreting and reporting contaminated profiles.
• Articles on how Rapid DNA is being used in mass casualty disasters.
• Features on the newest technologies, which will be presented during the ISHI 30 panel discussion.
• Information on how touch DNA is bringing rhinoceros poachers to justice.
• Interviews with investigative genealogy experts on how GEDmatch updates will impact future cases, and more!

Remains of one of Napoleon’s 1812 generals believed found in Russia

More than 200 years after he died of his battlefield wounds in Russia, archaeologists believe they have found the remains of one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s favourite generals buried in a park beneath the foundations of a dance floor.

DNA testing companies launch new privacy coalition

Genetic testing companies are forming a new coalition on best practices for handling DNA information and to promote the industry in Washington as lawmakers put more scrutiny on their privacy practices.
Three companies — Ancestry, 23andMe and Helix, which provide DNA testing and analysis — formed the Coalition for Genetic Data Protection, first reported by The Hill.

Nearly 8 Decades Later, Remains Of Trenton Sailor Who Died At Pearl Harbor Are Headed Home

A Trenton man was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. After nearly 78 years, his remains are finally coming home.

“Dark” Heart of the Human Genome Contains Chunks of Ancient DNA

Geneticists exploring the dark heart of the human genome have discovered big chunks of Neanderthal and other ancient DNA. The results open new ways to study both how chromosomes behave during cell division and how they have changed during human evolution.

Lawyers In A Murder Trial Clash Over A DNA Forensics Methods

ON A LARGE screen inside a packed Snohomish County courtroom, in Washington state, a young Canadian couple smiled out at the dimmed room from the relaxed, faded scene of a party. It was the last known picture taken of Tanya Van Cuylenberg and Jay Cook together before they disappeared in November 1987. Their bodies were discovered days after they went missing, more than 60 miles apart.

DNA analysis suggests Dene descended from first North Americans

The Indigenous people of Canada’s Western Arctic are descendants of some of the first humans to live in North America, new genetic research suggests.
A paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature has found the Dene, who live across much of the northern part of the continent and into the southern United States, have roots thousands of years older than previously thought.

New method aims to improve match between DNA sample and face database

Predicting what someone’s face looks like based on a DNA sample remains a hard nut to crack for science. It is, however, getting easier to use such a sample to filter the right face from a face database, as an international team led by KU Leuven has shown. Their findings were published in Nature Communications.