Virginia bill seeks study on DNA databank expansion

dna-profile-blueALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) — A new bill sponsored by Delegate David Toscano and backed by Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding is asking for a study on the effectiveness of increasing the number of misdemeanor crimes that require DNA collection.
“It’s just overwhelming, the lives it saves, the potential rape victims it’s saving. It’s in the hundreds and hundreds, and I just can’t let it go,” said Harding, who was a driving force behind the creation of Virginia’s DNA databank in the 1990s.

Rapid Processing of Swabs from Casework Samples Using Casework Direct Kit, Custom

 This application note describes the protocol for generation of Casework Direct Reagent lysate from casework samples. The resulting lysate is compatible with downstream applications such as human DNA quantification and STR profile generation.

Genedrive scores US army coup with DNA-testing deal

helix10A small British company has clinched a rare deal with the US armed forces, providing them with millions of pounds of kit to test for biological warfare agents. The US Department of Defense has now begun field trials of DNA analysis equipment from Genedrive.

Hatch, Feinstein, Sensenbrenner, and Swalwell Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Rapid DNA Legislation

feinstein-swalwellWASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Rapid DNA Act. This legislation would establish a system to enable law enforcement officials to use Rapid DNA instruments to help reduce DNA backlogs. Unlike traditional DNA analysis, which can take weeks, Rapid DNA analysis permits processing of DNA samples in approximately 90 minutes or less.

National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) FY 2017 Competitive Grant Announcement

Justice DeptThe U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is seeking applications for funding to address the issue of unsubmitted sexual assault kits(SAKs) at law enforcement agencies. This program furthers the Department’s mission by improving state and local jurisdictions’ response to violent crime and improving the functioning of the criminal justice system.

Applicants must register with prior to submitting an application. All applications are
due to be submitted and in receipt of a successful validation message in by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on March 2, 2017.

Forensic science cuts pose risk to justice, regulator warns

profile-12The government will damage British justice if it inflicts further cuts on forensic science, the official regulator has said.
Dr Gillian Tully warned in her annual report that financial pressures were compromising quality, including potentially in serious criminal cases involving murder and sexual assault.

Dust To Dust: Scientists Find DNA Of Human Ancestors In Cave Floor Dirt

max-planc-researchersImagine being able to collect the DNA of a human ancestor who’s been dead for tens of thousands of years from the dirt on the floor of a cave. Sounds fantastic, but scientists in Germany think they may be able to do just that. If they’re successful, it could open a new door into understanding the extinct relatives of humans.

Family-member DNA searches could help crack Canadian cold cases

analystThough he had never before heard of Kelly Morrisseau, the details of her cold case, and the subsequent 10-year investigation into her killing, were instantly familiar to Rockne Harmon.

Parabon® Snapshot™ Helps Investigators Solve Double-Homicide Cold Case

parabon-suspect-photoRESTON, Va., Jan. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — With the generous permission of the Rockingham County NC Sheriff’s Office (RCSO), Parabon® NanoLabs (Parabon) announces the company’s participation in the agency’s successful investigation of the murders of Douglas “Troy” and LaDonna French. On 4 February 2012, the Frenches were fatally shot by an intruder in their home in Reidsville, NC. Although DNA evidence was found at the crime scene, it failed to produce a match in any database or among the more than 50 individuals known to have been in or near the French home. In January 2015, nearly three years into the investigation and only a month after the debut of Parabon’s Snapshot Phenotyping Service, RCSO Captain Tammi Howell and Detective Marcus Marshall contacted Parabon about the case. Parabon CEO Steve Armentrout remembers the call: “This was an early case for Snapshot. I recall the investigators’ frustration at having such solid DNA evidence, but no one to match it to. Those are exactly the types of cases for which Snapshot was created.”

Forensics 2.0

crime-and-dnaForensic anthropologist Lindsay Trammell had only just received the human remains and she already knew that she’d need help with this case. It was the summer of 2014, and 15 skeletons had arrived at the St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office as a jumble of bones inside four wooden coffins. Some of the bones looked ancient; they were “falling apart,” Trammell recalls. But others were in relatively good shape. “There were different levels of preservation throughout the remains.”

State audit shows nearly half of rape kits not tested

idaho-state-policeNearly half of Idaho’s alleged sexual assault victims who underwent a forensic exam after reporting their case to authorities never had those results submitted to a lab for testing.
That’s according to new information gathered from law enforcement agencies across the state, showing that about 44 percent of rape kits conducted in Idaho never got tested.

Secrets of world’s oldest mummies are revealed by DNA tests, scans

chinchorro-mummySANTIAGO – The world’s oldest mummies have just had an unusual check-up.
More than 7,000 years after they were embalmed by the Chinchorro people, an ancient civilization in modern-day Chile and Peru, 15 mummies were taken to a Santiago clinic last week to undergo DNA analysis and computerized tomography scans.

Massively Parallel Sequencing: Application to Forensics

Justice DeptMassively parallel sequencing (MPS), also called next-generation sequencing, is an exciting technology that holds promise for enhancing the capabilities of forensic DNA laboratories. However, several challenges confront the implementation of an MPS system in a crime laboratory.
This report not only provides forensic DNA scientists with one comprehensive resource which covers the fundamentals of current platforms and chemistries, but it also summarizes a series of MPS related webinars hosted by the FTCoE in conjunction with the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Institute of Applied Genetics.
This report is a product of an NIJ-funded project but is not published by the Department of Justice.

The Suspect, the Prosecutor, and the Unlikely Bond They Forged

smithsonian-imageAs attorney general of the United States in the 1930s, Homer Cummings announced the capture of Bruno Hauptmann in the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. He built Alcatraz, the island prison. In the time of John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Bonnie and Clyde, he consolidated federal investigative units into what became the FBI. He fought incessant battles for New Deal legislation. And he was instrumental in one of the century’s great scandals, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s disastrous attempt to pack the Supreme Court. In fact, Cummings was chief architect of the plan, which was widely condemned; its true purpose of manufacturing a friendlier Supreme Court was buried under talk of judicial efficiency.

New DNA markers to identify Indian population

blue helix2Hyderabad: In a significant breakthrough in criminal forensics, scientists of the Centre for DNA Finger-printing and Diagnostics (CDFD) have developed a set of 70 genetic markers that can easily help in obtaining the DNA profile of Indian Population.
The new genetic markers would help forensic experts involved in crime investigations and identification of disaster victims to successfully obtain DNA profiles from challenging forensic samples like those of exhumed bodies, aircrash bodies and highly degraded bodies in disasters.