Record-breaking DNA comparisons drive fast forensics

Developed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, IdPrism and its award-winning algorithms provide rapid analysis for complex forensic DNA samples.

Ancient DNA reveals new twists in Neanderthal migration

In 1856, some curious remains turned up at a limestone quarry in the Neander Valley in Germany. While the skull fragment and bones vaguely resembled those of modern humans, the brow was too robust, and the bones were too hefty. It took eight years for scientists to recognize the fossils as the first evidence of a whole other species of ancient human, Homo neanderthalensis.
Further discoveries have since revealed much more about the Neanderthals, including where they lived, how they cared for their young, and perhaps even their artwork. Now, using ancient DNA extracted from a pair of European Neanderthals, scientists are getting a more detailed picture of the species’ journey across our prehistoric planet.

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.

New Forensic Tool Uses Single Hair to Identify Perpetrators

A new forensic technique could help identify perpetrators of sexual assault using a kind of evidence typically deemed unreliable by the scientific community: hair.

“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.

Why this 80-year-old marquise is Spain’s most inspiring woman

Margarita Salas defied tradition views of a woman’s role in Franco Spain to do amazing things.
An 80-year-old Spanish scientist whose work has shaped the study of DNA testing has just won a life time achievement award and we at The Local think everyone should know her name.

We need to fix forensics. But how?

Ten years ago, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) published a groundbreaking study on the use of forensics in criminal trials. The study found that, in the “pattern matching” fields of forensics in particular, expert witnesses had been vastly overstating the significance and certainty of their analyses. For some fields, such as bite-mark analysis, the study found no scientific research at all to support the central claims of practitioners.

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.

Golden State Killer breakthrough garners global acclaim as ‘DNA Hit of the Year’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When DNA made the break in the 45-year-old Golden State Killer case, it set off a national phenomenon to identify suspects in some of the country’s worst unsolved crimes. Now, the case is getting global recognition for the breakthrough and influence it had in the forensic field.

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.

Largest DNA mapping effort in U.S. history launched in Utah

Intermountain Healthcare and ‘Decode Genetics’ have launched the largest DNA mapping effort to date in the United States to help make connections between genetics and human disease.
The initiative is called ‘Heredigene Population Study’.
It’s going to take DNA from 500,000 people to hopefully make a global impact on healthcare.

UK and EU law enforcement boost co-operation on DNA databases

Law enforcement agencies in the UK and across the EU will be able to search for matching samples on each other’s DNA databases, boosting their capacity to tackle cross-border crime and protect citizens.
The UK’s implementation of Prüm will facilitate better co-operation between police forces and law enforcement agencies. Unknown DNA samples taken from crime scenes can now be compared automatically with profiles held by other EU member states.

Boise geneticist helps Knox in Italian conviction appeal. DNA shows she isn’t guilty

The world was captivated by the Italian trial that convicted Seattle college student Amanda Knox in the sensational 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
Knox’s appeal is now under way, and critical evidence used to convict her actually shows she’s innocent, says Boise State professor Greg Hampikian, a forensic DNA expert who volunteered to help the Knox defense.

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.