APD Creates Team Dedicated to Clearing Rape Kit Backlog

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin’s interim police chief is adding more staff to the department’s sexual assault unit. Chief Brian Manley wants the DNA lab’s massive backlog to be a thing of the past.
At the backlog’s peak, Austin Police had more than 3,000 DNA kits waiting to be tested. They were from a variety of cases, but many stemmed from sexual assaults.

Ten years on, DNA on Coke can leads to arrest over $200,000 jewelry heist

A discarded can of Coca-Cola left behind from a low level break-in more than a decade ago helped Australian police catch the criminal behind a notorious robbery of more than $200,000 worth of jewelry from the shop in the city of Shepparton, in northern Victoria.

Garda told State lab lacks resources for full DNA analysis

The Garda have been told that full DNA tests of crime scenes will not be carried out in the case of “volume crimes”, such as burglary or car theft, due to limited resources.
Ireland’s first DNA database was established a year ago and has been widely praised for linking crimes to offenders on more than 600 occasions, including in 350 burglaries. The database now contains some 10,000 profiles from suspects, convicted criminals and sex offenders – a figure that is increasing by about 1,000 every month.

44 ‘hits’ found in DNA testing of old, backlogged Virginia rape evidence

DNA testing in 431 cases of collected but previously untested biological evidence recovered in Virginia rape cases has resulted in 44 DNA database “hits.”

7.2-million-year-old pre-human fossils challenge modern human evolution theory

A jawbone discovered by German troops in Athens during the Second World War could be evidence that apes and humans diverged 200,000 years earlier than the current theory says.
Chimpanzees and bonobos are the nearest known relatives to humans, sharing 99 per cent of our DNA. It’s believed that we split between five and seven million years ago.

ASCLD Webinar Series: DNA Standards and Guidelines

Hear from the Federal Bureau of Investigations on their efforts with the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods to revise DNA standards and ensure quality operations as forensic analysis technology changes.
Thursday, May 25, 2017 1:00 PM EDT – 3:00 PM EDT

Boise State grant for post-conviction DNA testing comes with a catch

The Idaho Innocence Project will benefit from a $630,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant to test DNA in possible wrongful-conviction cases.
But none of the money can be used on Idaho cases, and the grant had to be given to Boise State University.

State forensic panel to fine tune familial DNA proposal

A special state subcommittee Friday will be fine tuning a proposal for New York State to use familial searching, an emerging DNA technique used to solve cold case homicides around the country.
The DNA subcommittee of the New York State Commission on Forensic Science will be voting on details of the plan to use familial searching, proposals that have been in the works since the beginning of the year. Under proposed guidelines, special DNA analysis will be allowed in cases of homicide, rape, arson and crimes involving “a significant public safety threat.”

The FBI has published its validation of STRmix™ for Use on Up to Five-Person Mixtures

The FBI has published its validation of STRmix™ for use on mixtures of up to five persons, as well as across a wide range of templates and mixture ratios.
The FBI began use of STRmix in casework in December 2015. This publication details the extensive validation work done by the FBI to underpin that casework use.

Priest’s DNA does not match profile from cold-case murder of nun

(CNN)A DNA sample taken from the exhumed remains of former priest A. Joseph Maskell does not match the DNA from the murder scene of Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik, according to Baltimore County Police.
Police announced on Wednesday that they had received results from Bode Cellmark Forensics laboratory in Lorton, Virginia, excluding Maskell as a contributor to a DNA profile developed from evidence taken in 1970 from the scene in Maryland where the decomposed body of Cesnik was found by a father and son out hunting. The 26-year-old nun had been missing for nearly two months.

Oral Abstracts Deadline is June 11

Time is running out to submit your abstract proposal for ISHI. Oral abstracts, including “Interesting Cases,” are due June 11. Poster abstracts are due July 16. Visit the ISHI website to learn more, submit a proposal or register for the symposium.

Africa: Italian Murder Case Wins the 2017 DNA Database Hit of the Year Award

Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs (GTH-GA) has awarded the inaugural DNA Database Hit of the Year award to the Italian Carabinieri and Polizia di Stato for its dedicated work on the Yara Gambirasio murder case. The winning case was selected from 50 cases submitted by 15 countries, and was chosen by a panel of seven international judges with career backgrounds in forensic DNA. The award was announced during the annual Human Identification Solutions (HIDS) Conference held in Vienna, Austria.

Mary Rose ship crew ‘to be identified using DNA’

Scientists examining human remains from Henry VIII’s flagship Mary Rose are hoping to reconstruct skeletons of some of its crew using DNA.
Previous attempts to reform the bodies were based on “physical matching”, including bone size, and not DNA.
It is hoped more faces of some crew members can then be recreated.
The University of Portsmouth research will also enable scientists to learn more about their heights, ages and where they came from.

China moves to expand DNA testing in Muslim region

BEIJING – China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass collection of DNA samples from residents of a restive, largely Muslim region that’s been under a security crackdown, rights observers and independent experts said Tuesday.
Police in western China’s Xinjiang region confirmed to The Associated Press that they are in the process of purchasing at least $8.7 million in equipment to analyze DNA samples.

Tech tours coming soon to you!

Promega’s hitting the road once again with all the Power to Solve.
Please join us for a day of presentations and discussions on the latest advancements in STR analysis and the forensics workflow, including updates on the Spectrum CE Systems.
The workshop will feature presentations by leaders in the forensics community which provide information and tips on: