NIJ seeks proposals for funding for the FY 2014 DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program

Justice DeptThis program funds States and units of local government with existing crime laboratories that conduct DNA analysis to process, record, screen, and analyze forensic DNA and/or DNA database samples, and to increase the capacity of public forensic DNA and DNA database laboratories to process more DNA samples, thereby helping to reduce the number of forensic DNA and DNA database samples awaiting analysis.

The Genetic Legacy of Interbreeding with Neandertals

Sapiens_neanderthal_comparison-e1397655971851Publishing a draft of the Neandertal genome (1) opened up whole new avenues to understanding the ancestry of modern humans. No longer constrained to comparing the morphology of fossilized remains, scientists can now delve into the genetic differences between anatomically modern humans and our close relative Homo neanderthalensis. From these genetic studies, we are learning some amazing things about the evolution of Homo sapiens.

Cold Case: New technology gives Jane Doe from 1990 a face

Jane DoeNEWARK — In 24 years, several homicides in Licking County have remained unsolved. One of those cases involves an unidentified woman who has been known only as Jane Doe since she was found.

Salt Lake police to publicize info on unprocessed rape kits

DNATestingSALT LAKE CITY — Beginning June 1, the public will be able to see the progress of rape kit processing in Salt Lake City as part of an effort to improve transparency and make systemic improvements.
Representatives from the Salt Lake Police Department, state crime lab and Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office presented the plan and their commitment to improve the process at a news conference Wednesday.
Efforts to address the backlog of 625 unprocessed rape kits in the Salt Lake City area have been in the works for several months. The announcement of the plan wasn’t simply a response to the heated Salt Lake City Council meeting on Tuesday, said Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank.

DNA tests begin on bones of ‘King Canute’

King CanuteDNA analysis of the oldest royal bones in England has begun at Winchester Cathedral.
Experts could finally be on the verge of resolving an internationally-significant mystery that has perplexed historians for centuries.

DA seeks new test on rape suspect with identical twin

twin dnaA man charged with brutally raping two women in 2004 is facing what should be slam-dunk DNA evidence, which normally should definitively prove whether he did it. But prosecutors have one problem.
The suspect, Dwayne McNair, has an identical twin brother, Dwight.

Questions over police DNA collection

Lab Test VialsUnder New Zealand law, the police can take DNA from people they plan to charge and match it against samples from unsolved crimes.
Collections of DNA were expanded by the government in 2009 which said it was critical for fighting crime.

Memphis making progress, updating public on testing of 12,000 backlogged rape kits

GATCMEMPHIS, Tennessee — Memphis is making progress in testing its backlog of 12,000 rape kits, including the filing of 14 indictments against sexual-assault suspects, but more work is needed to reduce the number of kits that sat ignored since the 1980s, officials said Wednesday.

Blame game under way in lack of rape prosecutions, lab testing

helix2Experts say that only a small fraction of rapes are reported and that the prosecution rate in those cases is dismally small — in Salt Lake County it’s 6 percent. In many instances of alleged sex assault, forensic evidence gathered from the victim is not even analyzed.
Such evidence — including semen and saliva that can provide DNA — is collected by specially trained nurses in what is called a Code R kit, or rape kit. The evidence could be key to a conviction.

DNA, digital X-rays used to ID remains found at Dozier School for Boys

Dozier School FLTAMPA, Fla. — A researcher from the University of South Florida said Tuesday that a team of forensic experts is using DNA, skeletal analysis and digital X-rays to identify the remains from a former reform school on the Panhandle.

Bosnians see victims excavated from mass grave

bosnia1So far, 430 victims have been found in the Tomasica grave, a vast pit 10 meters (about 30 feet) deep and covering 5,000 square meters (54,000 square feet). The mass grave contains victims of Bosnian Serb military units who killed Muslim Bosniaks and Roman Catholic Croats in hopes of creating an ethnically pure region.

University of North Texas DNA lab helps solve 42-year-old mystery

StudebakerThe nationally known DNA lab at the University of North Texas has helped solve the mystery of what happened to two South Dakota high school girls who disappeared in late May 1971.

Backlog on rape kits

justice and DNA2As evidence languishes, victims are ignored

France Casts DNA Dragnet in Rape Case

cold case evidenceFrench investigators have begun taking DNA samples from 527 male students and staff at a high school — including boys as young as 14 — as they search for the assailant who raped a teenage girl on the closed campus.

New Solicitation: Solving Cold Cases With DNA

Justice DeptNIJ seeks applications from States and units of local government for funding under the Solving Cold Cases With DNA program to identify, review, and investigate Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Part 1 Violent Crime “cold cases” that have the potential to be solved using DNA analysis, and to locate and analyze the biological evidence associated with these cases. NIJ’s goal is to make funding available to States and units of local government for projects that will address all three of the following purpose areas:
1. Case review—to identify, review, and prioritize violent crime cold cases that have the potential to be solved using DNA analysis (by appropriate persons such as prosecutors, public defenders, law enforcement personnel, forensic scientists, and medical examiners) in order to determine whether DNA analysis of any existing biological evidence could help solve the cold case.
2. Location of evidence—to identify, collect, retrieve, and evaluate biological evidence from such cases that may reasonably be expected to contain DNA.
3. DNA analysis of biological evidence—to perform DNA analyses on such biological evidence, including the handling and screening of this evidence.
The deadline for applications is May 27, but the application process can be time-consuming; start now.