Progress on Testing Sexual Assault Kits

Justice Dept“Promega Corporation gratefully acknowledges the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, for allowing us to reproduce, in part or in whole, the video “Progress on Testing Sexual Assault Kits”. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this video are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.”

New DNA Analysis Shows Aboriginal Australians Are the World’s Oldest Society

aboriginal-kangaSmithsonian- For centuries, Aboriginal Australians have said they belonged to the oldest sustained civilization on the face of the Earth, citing their culture and history of oral storytelling that stretches back tens of thousands of years. Now, one of the most extensive analyses of Indigenous Australian DNA to date suggests that they’ve been right all along.

Arson at Belgian Forensic Lab May Set Back Terrorism Cases

lab-in-brusselsBRUSSELS — The whole operation took less than 10 minutes. Three people drove a van up to Belgium’s main forensic storehouse at 2 a.m., cut through a perimeter fence, smashed the ground-floor windows, and placed bottles of accelerant inside.
The fire they set destroyed much of the nation’s chief forensic laboratory, including its entire cache of hair samples and thousands of other pieces of evidence critical to the prosecution of hundreds of criminal and terrorism suspects.

Human Skeleton Found on Famed Antikythera Shipwreck

underwaterHannes Schroeder snaps on two pairs of blue latex gloves, then wipes his hands with a solution of bleach. In front of him is a large Tupperware box full of plastic bags that each contain sea water and a piece of red-stained bone. He lifts one out and inspects its contents as several archaeologists hover behind, waiting for his verdict. They’re hoping he can pull off a feat never attempted before—DNA analysis on someone who has been under the sea for 2,000 years.

Ceremony honors fallen service members identified through forensics

POW MIADOVER — They might have just appeared to be names on a list, but each name that was read over the public address system represented closure to the families of fallen U.S. service members from past wars and conflicts.
Each name meant that a soldier had returned home.
Dover Air Force Base hosted a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Retreat Ceremony around the flag pole near the air traffic control terminal on Friday afternoon.

Someone stole thousands of vials containing the DNA of Italians with very long lifespans

dna-collection3Thousands of vials containing the DNA of Italians with very long lifespans have gone missing.
This DNA was collected years ago as part of widespread research interest in the island of Sardinia, whose residents are some of the world’s longest living people. On average, 21 out of every 10,000 residents in one area of Sardinia live to age 100. In comparison, only four out of 10,000 Americans get to celebrate that birthday.

Delaware has a new Director of Forensic Science

de-div-of-for-sciA 29-year veteran and Major with the Delaware State Police is Delaware’s new Director of Forensic Science.
John Evans was appointed by the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security James Mosley on Monday.

Steven Avery Update: Facts About New Prosecutor Norman Gahn

averyAccording to court documents, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Norman Gahn has been appointed to substitute Manitowoc County District Attorney Jaclyn LaBre in the homicide case. The replacement came on September 1 after LaBre cited a conflict of interest.

Police are routinely building up private DNA databases

dna-swab…Private DNA databases have multiplied as testing technology has become more sophisticated and sensitive, enabling labs to generate profiles from so-called “touch” or “trace” DNA consisting of as little as a few skin cells. Automated “Rapid DNA” machines allow police to analyze DNA right at the station in a mere 90 minutes. Some states allow “familial searching” of databases, which can identify people with samples from family members. New software can even create composite mugshots of suspects using DNA to guess at skin and eye color…

Forensics @ NIST 2016

NIST Forensics LogoJoin us for Forensics @NIST, November 8-9, 2016, when you will have the opportunity to visit the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, meet our scientists, and learn how they are using advanced methods in metrology, computer science, and statistics to strengthen forensic science.
Register Here!

Fifteen years after 9/11, NYC Medical Examiner still works to identify victims, bring families closure

ocme-1The city Medical Examiner’s Office’s continued efforts to identify the remains of 9/11 victims has advanced the science behind DNA testing — and created techniques that have helped cops across the country identify human remains, according to Mark Desire, Assistant Director of the city Medical Examiner’s Department of Forensic Biology.

Department Of Justice Invests $63 Million In Nation’s Crime Labs

Justice DeptWASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today announced awards of more than $63 million to 132 states and local jurisdictions to increase laboratory capacity and reduce the number of DNA samples awaiting analysis.
“The DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction Program continues to be a vital source of funding to state and local Crime Laboratories. This funding not only allows these labs to get the additional resources they need to keep up with increasing demand, it also allows them to implement new technologies and protocols that help increase the speed and efficiency of DNA testing, thus getting investigative leads to law enforcement faster,” said Nancy Rodriguez, NIJ Director.

SDPD Doubles Down on Decision to Leave Some Rape Kits Untested

evidence4SDPD says it has roughly 2,400 sexual-assault kits that haven’t been sent to the crime lab for testing. The department contends its approach is smarter and more efficient: Do the investigative work first to determine whether the kit will help the case.

Bill Cosby: Why is there a time limit on bringing sexual assault cases to US courts?

innocent-until-druggedMore than 50 women allege they have been sexually assaulted by the comedian Bill Cosby, but only one woman will face him in criminal court. Campaigners say laws which set deadlines on when these crimes can be reported deny survivors justice.

Officials say more resources needed to fix DNA test backlog

Cyan HelixHARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania officials say it will take significant new funding to cut into Allegheny County Crime Lab’s 2 1/2-year evidence backlog.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale linked the backlog to a lack of resources, as the lab only has nine people to process all of the DNA evidence. The lab processes evidence for 137 crime agencies, including Allegheny County and Pittsburgh police.