Ancient DNA Sheds New Light on Arctic’s Earliest People

Inuit IndiansThe earliest people in the North American Arctic remained isolated from later arrivals to the region for millennia before vanishing more than 700 years ago, a new genetic analysis shows. The study, published online Thursday, also reveals that today’s Inuit and Native Americans of the Arctic are genetically distinct from the region’s first settlers.

Experts identifying Flight 17 victims find DNA samples from 283 people, 173 positive IDs

MH17 DebrisTHE HAGUE, Netherlands — Experts working to identify the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 have gathered DNA samples from 283 people and have positively identified 173.

Governor Quinn Opens State-of-the-Art Police Forensic Laboratory in Belleville

blue helix2BELLEVILLE – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by state and local officials to open a new State Police Metro-East Forensic Science Laboratory in Belleville. The facility will provide the Illinois State Police (ISP) and police agencies throughout the region with enhanced crime-solving abilities. The event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure the safety of all people in every community across Illinois.

Learn from the experts at ISHI 25

ISHI ArizonaExplore timely issues in forensic DNA during workshops at this year’s ISHI.
Topics to be explored include:
• Ancestry and genealogy testing
• Interpretation of complex DNA mixtures
• Advances in next-generation sequencing
• New probabilistic software; what it is and how it works
• Complex relationship statistics
• Incorporating new autosomal and Y loci in the lab
• Working with biological evidence
See the complete workshop listing and view the general session symposium agenda at : www.ishinews.com

The Kennewick Man Finally Freed to Share His Secrets

kennewick manHe’s the most important human skeleton ever found in North America—and here, for the first time, is his story

California Lawmakers Approve Bill Requiring Timely Reports of Evidence For Unanalyzed Rape Kits

sexual assault kits(Reuters) – Amid ongoing efforts to address a backlog of unanalyzed rape kits that go untested throughout the country, California lawmakers passed a bill on Friday requiring law enforcement to process the evidence within a certain time frame.
The bill next goes for a procedural approval in the state Assembly next week before heading to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature. Brown vetoed a pilot program in 2011 that would have required certain counties to process their backlogged rape kits.

Washington Supreme Court Sets Standard For Post-Conviction DNA Testing

Wash Supreme CourtWashington’s Supreme Court may have just made it easier for prison inmates to try to get their convictions overturned through DNA testing. In a 6-to-3 ruling Thursday, the high court said inmates don’t have to show they’re likely innocent in order to win a post-conviction DNA test.

MPD Push on Rape Kit Backlog Yields Indictments

HarveyIndictments are ready on 22 Memphis rape cases that were part of the city’s backlog of untested sexual assault kits.
Memphis Police Department [MPD] Deputy Chief Jim Harvey said some of those indictments are on known suspects, and some of them are on DNA profiles of unknown suspects collected from the kits.

Oman to create DNA database of criminals

OmanOman is preparing to create a DNA database of jailed criminals, according to Muscat Daily.
The move would help improve police investigations and prosecutions, a senior official was quoted as saying.

Sexual assault evidence will be stored in state crime lab in Madison

sexual assault kitsSexual assault victims in Wisconsin will be given a consent form notifying them they can have tests done and have DNA evidence stored at a state crime lab in Madison as they decide whether to go to police, the state Justice Department announced Tuesday.
The new process for reporting sexual assaults and storing evidence centrally in Madison will help calm victims and may help authorities to catch the perpetrators eventually, according to officials.

Victims advocate renews push for DNA law in Minn

Jayann SepichJayann Sepich spent part of her day at the Minneapolis Public Library telling the story of daughter Katie, who was a 22-year-old college student in 2003 when she was abducted, raped and murdered.
“It’s heart wrenching every time I tell the story, but I know that other mothers won’t be burying their daughters if we can get this passed, and that matters to me,” Sepich told KARE.

Feds aim to fund forensic science center

Blue Helix2A federal agency within the Commerce Department is looking to give $20 million to fund a new forensic science research center.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on Tuesday announced a competition for money to build the center, which will work on establishing “a firm scientific foundation” for key methods in the sciences.

Behind the High Tech Forensics of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

MH17 VictimsDutch officials expect precise accuracy from DNA-matching software that will be used to identify many of the 298 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 victims. But it is unknown whether there will be enough genetic evidence from the remains and relatives of the missing to ID everyone.
As of Friday, 171 people who died after the July 17 crash had not been recovered.

Working to exonerate innocent people in American prisons

Prisons of the WorldAMERICA HAS MORE prisoners than anywhere else in the world.
Currently there are 2.2 million prisoners in America. That is 1.6 million more than in Russia, 2.1 million more than the UK and 600,000 more than China.

The Coldest of the Cold Cases: Using DNA to Identify Century-Old Remains

DNA_TestingIn a dusty, seemingly empty field 60 miles east of L.A., Dr. Alexis Gray, a forensic anthropologist from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department, points to a chain-link fence far in the distance, the mountains rising beyond in the hazy heat. “There are 7,000 people between us and that next fence there,” she says. For almost a decade, her job has been to confirm the identification of every single one of them.