Category Archives: Ancestry

The First Murder Case To Use Family Tree Forensics Goes To Trial

To crack a 32-year-old murder case, police used genetic genealogy, which involves searching family tree sites and the DNA that people add to them. Now its legality is getting scrutiny in the courtroom.

NatGeo Discontinues Genographic Ancestry Kit Sales, Will Shutter Service by End of 2020

Requires Free Subscription NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – National Geographic has halted sales of its Geno DNA Ancestry Kits, and plans to wind up the service next year. The kits enabled consumers to participate in NatGeo’s Genographic Project, a 14-year endeavor to use genetics to map patterns of global human migration.

Live Long And Prosper: How Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe Will Mine Its Giant DNA Database For Health And Wealth

The brilliance is that, if all goes as planned, 23andMe gets paid on both ends. Customers pay to find out about their heritage and then the company uses that genetic data to one day profit from potential new medicines. Eighty percent of 23andMe’s customers consent to allow their DNA to be used for biomedical research.

Thousands of rape kits nationwide never sent to crime labs

WASHINGTON (SBG) – The discovery of 11,000 untested rape kits in a Detroit storage facility a decade ago made national headlines. It was just the tip of the iceberg.
“Even if there’s a case that’s decades-old with very little evidence remaining, it’s still worth testing because we need very little material to obtain a DNA profile now,” said Erin Sweeney, the lab director at Bode Technology.

Mass Funeral for Victims of Bosnia’s Koricanske Stijene Killings

According to the Missing Persons Institute, during the last exhumation conducted in the Koricanske Stijene area in 2017, a total of 135 people’s remains were exhumed and more than 1,000 samples sent for DNA.

Airbnb Partners With 23andMe to Make It Easier for People to Get In Touch With Their Roots or Something

When 23andMe customers undergo a DNA test, the company sends them an “ancestry composition” report that is supposed to show them where their ancestors came from. Now, when people receive this report, they can click through to find Airbnb offerings of activities and places to stay.

Detective in Golden State Killer Case to Open 30th International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) September 23-26 in Palm Springs, CA

Paul Holes, the detective who helped identify the infamous Golden State Killer using investigative genealogy technologies, will open the 30th International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) September 23-26 in Palm Springs, CA. The meeting is the largest annual scientific symposium focusing entirely on DNA forensics drawing nearly 1000 law enforcement professionals and scientists from around the world.

Iraqi forensic DNA scientists train at Marshall

HUNTINGTON – The Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC) partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program and Science Applications International Corp. earlier this month in Huntington to provide advanced DNA validation training to 18 forensic DNA scientists with the Republic of Iraq Ministry of Interior Criminal Evidence Directorate, including its director, Major General Talib Khalil Raahi.

Woman accused in death of newborn granted pretrial release

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota woman charged with murder in the death of her newborn who was abandoned in a ditch 38 years ago has been released from jail.
Theresa Bentaas, 57, has been in the Minnehaha County Jail since her arrest March 8. Investigators said they used advances in DNA evidence and genealogy sites to determine she was the mother of the infant, called Baby Andrew, whose body was found wrapped in a blanket in a cornfield ditch in Sioux Falls in February 1981.

The Teeth of Early Neanderthals May Indicate the Species’ Lineage Is Older Than Thought

In a cave called the ‘pit of bones,’ up in the Atapuerca Mountains of Spain, a collection of 430,000-year-old teeth are curiously smaller than might be expected for the skulls they were found with. The anomaly has one scientist suggesting that the lineages of modern humans and Neanderthals split some 800,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than genetic studies have estimated.

Turkish scientists develop program converting DNA into music

Scientists at METU have converted chromosomes into frequency values and created sounds, visuals and animations using frequency data.
Elif Sürer, a member of the Middle East Technical University (METU) Informatics Institute, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they have started a new project titled “Music in You” with graduate student Elif Bozlak.

Plastic milk container, genealogy helped Utah police crack church assault case

CENTERVILLE — A plastic milk container and genealogy.
Centerville police used both of those items recently to figure out who allegedly attacked a 71-year-old woman while she was practicing the organ in a church meetinghouse. It’s the same technology used by authorities to identify and arrest the Golden State Killer last year.

Sebastopol grandmother among world’s best at cracking cold cases through forensic genealogy

The press conference to announce the solving of a 37-year-old cold case murder took place Tuesday at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Reno, Nevada.
The optics were arresting: Standing amid imposing law enforcement officials were a pair of unassuming elderly women — “two little old ladies,” wisecracked one of them, Colleen Fitzpatrick. The other was white-haired, wire-rimmed, 72-year-old Margaret Press who made the four-hour drive from her home in Sebastopol the day before.

New DNA evidence solves 1982 cold case killing at Lake Tahoe

At a news conference in Reno on Tuesday, sheriff’s detectives, forensic scientists, and genealogists described a remarkable series of challenges they faced in piecing together evidence and tracing the extended family trees of hundreds of individuals based on DNA run through an online genealogy databased called GEDMatch.

DNA Reveals Ancient Mass Grave Of Massacred Women And Children Were From Same Family

In 2011, archaeologists working in Poland made a grizzly discovery. A mass grave of 15 individuals—mostly women and children—that had been executed during a massacre. Scientists have now discovered that these 5,000-year-old murder victims were part of the same, extended family—and had been buried with great care, with mothers placed next to their children, and siblings by each others side.