Category Archives: Forensic Industry News

The macabre puzzle of piecing together victims at Sri Lanka morgue

While staff have so far returned 115 victims to their relatives, there are still some 50 bags filled with unidentified remains in the morgue’s refrigerated rooms.

The ISHI REPORT

Introducing the ISHI Report – News from the World of DNA Forensics
Each quarter, we’ll bring you a glimpse into the fascinating field of forensic science and the dedicated people committed to carrying out the important work of identifying the missing, exonerating the innocent and finding the truth in each DNA sample.
Inside this issue, you’ll find:
👉 An in-depth interview with ISHI 30 Keynote, Paul Holes
👉 How the YHRD Database can benefit your lab.
👉 Easy steps anyone can take to be a more effective leader
👉 Y-STRs and ancestry informative SNPs helped predict the biogeographic ancestry of degraded remains
👉 Features on the people and technologies that have impacted the field throughout the years, and more!

The Justice Files: New DNA laboratory to aid police and families of crime

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – It may be the first non-profit DNA laboratory in the nation, and it could soon help law enforcement in solving cold cases.
The Utah Cold Case Coalition is behind the DNA laboratory which will soon be open for business.

What Does DNA Tell Us About Race?

The American Association of Physical Anthropologists, an organization of scientists dedicated to the study of the biological variation, adaptation, and evolution of humans and our close relatives, has just released a position statement on race and racism. It provides a nice insight into what has been learned about patterns of genetic and phenotypic variation in human populations since the publication of Watson and Crick’s paper 66 years ago.

What Does DNA Look Like? After 66 Years, We’re Still Learning More.

Exactly 66 years ago, on April 25, 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson published their famous article that showed that the shape of DNA is a double helix. They weren’t able to see DNA directly – it’s much too small for that – but came to their conclusion based on calculations and X-ray diffraction images. A crucial piece of information came from the famous “Photo 51”, an X-ray image of DNA taken by Rosalind Franklin.

Is Shakespeare’s DNA Hiding in the Folger Library’s Vault?

The Folger Shakespeare Library’s underground storage facility stretches a full block beneath the building, protected by a nine-inch-thick steel bank-vault door. It houses about 260,000 historically significant books, along with manuscripts, documents, and even costumes saved from 19th-century productions. But could the Capitol Hill research library—the largest collection devoted to the Bard in the world—also contain, quite literally, Shakespeare himself?

Sooner or Later Your Cousin’s DNA Is Going to Solve a Murder

In the year since the arrest of the man believed to be the notorious Golden State Killer, the world of criminal investigation has been radically transformed.
Using an unconventional technique that relies on DNA submitted to online genealogy sites, investigators have solved dozens of violent crimes, in many cases decades after they hit dead ends. Experts believe the technique could be used to revive investigations into a vast number of cases that have gone cold across the country, including at least 100,000 unsolved major violent crimes and 40,000 unidentified bodies.

National DNA Day and the Birth of Investigative Genetic Genealogy

Happy National DNA Day! Each year on April 25 we celebrate the 1953 publication of James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin’s discovery of DNA’s double helix. The day also marks the completion of the first human genome sequence in 2003.

‘Francine’s Law’ for missing persons signed by Gov. Stitt

Legislation that changes the way missing persons cases are handled in Oklahoma has been signed into law.

Experts Call for Making DNA Testing Mandatory in Violent Crimes

New Delhi, Delhi, India: In a compelling debate on forensic DNA technology’s role in fighting crime, organised at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club–South Asia, forensic, legal, and policy experts attributed the rise in crimes against women in India to more reporting of cases rather than an extraordinary spike in violence.

Adoption and Sperm and Egg Donations Are No Longer Anonymous

For over a century parents had the option of placing a child for adoption anonymously – meaning that the child and adoptive family had little or no information about the biological parents, and few, if any, means to contact each other in the future. But the advent of widespread direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing and the creation of ‘family matching’ databases has forever torn off the seal of confidential adoptions.

Governor Greg Abbott Appoints Four To Texas Forensic Science Commission

AUSTIN, TX (STL.News) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Patrick Buzzini, Ph.D. and reappointed Bruce Budowle, Ph.D., Nancy Downing, Ph.D., and Jasmine Drake, Ph.D. to the Texas Forensic Science Commission for terms set to expire on September 1, 2020. The commission provides oversight over Texas crime laboratories and other entities conducting forensic analyses for use in criminal proceedings and provides an accreditation mandate responsible for establishing procedures, policies, and practices to improve the quality of forensic analyses conducted in Texas.

Mystery of Karina Vetrano’s Death Ends With Murder Conviction

A Brooklyn man was found guilty late Monday of murdering a woman while she jogged in a Queens park, ending a two-week trial that had raised questions about coerced confessions, racial profiling and police practices.
The man, Chanel Lewis, 22, had confessed to attacking the woman, Karina Vetrano, in Spring Creek Park in August 2016. Traces of his DNA were found on her neck and cellphone, and underneath her fingernails.

Man convicted of rape in 1976 is cleared by DNA retesting

A former Fairfax County, Va., man convicted of rape in 1976 and imprisoned for 4½ years despite conflicting physical evidence and multiple alibi witnesses has had his conviction erased by the Virginia Supreme Court.
Winston L. Scott, now 63 and living in Indiana, spent 43 years as a convicted rapist. “It ruined his life,” said Shawn Armbrust of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which handled Scott’s appeal. “It ruined his relationship, it ruined his career plans, it ruined his job prospects. Living for 43 years as a convicted rapist is not something any of us would want to do.”

The Technology 202: Consumers advocates want Washington to tackle ‘Wild West’ of DNA test kits

A consumer advocacy group leader says it’s time for Washington lawmakers to set some rules in the “Wild West” of at-home DNA testing kits.
Following a report that Family Tree DNA gave the FBI access to its vast genetic database, Sally Greenberg, the executive director of the National Consumers League, says Congress must make sure people are aware of the broad privacy implications of using these common services. Most people who buy DNA kits think they’re learning about their ancestors or relatives, Greenberg says, and they don’t know that companies often have sweeping terms of service agreements that allow them to share customer genetic data with law enforcement or other companies.