Corps determines Kennewick Man is Native American

kennewick-man-clay-modelSPOKANE, Wash. — The ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man is related to modern Native American tribes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday, opening the process for returning to tribes for burial one of the oldest and most complete set of bones ever found in North America.
The Northwestern Division of the corps said its decision was based on a review of new information, particularly recently published DNA and skeletal analyses.

Why Microsoft is buying 10 million strands of DNA

Blue and white helixIt’s not the typical tech company acquisition. Microsoft has agreed to purchase 10 million strands of lab-created DNA from biotech company Twist Bioscience. The goal is to research how to encode digital data on genetic material.
Yes, it sounds like science fiction, but it marks a new development in how to store large quantities of digital data. The companies announced Wednesday that Microsoft agreed to purchase 10 million long oligonucleotides — or shortened DNA strands that are used for genetic research — from Twist.

Residents terrified of ‘serial rapist’ stalking women for past 11 years

DNA Evidence QueenslandThis year, the sexual predator has averaged one attack a month and up to 40 police are working around the clock to track down the attacker being labelled a ‘serial rapist’.
The eight attacks, including six on the northern end of the Gold Coast, date back 11 years and include four rapes and an attempted rape.

N.Y.’s Top Court Raises Bar for DNA Evidence

Helix4MANHATTAN (CN) — Although DNA testing gave less than one-in-a-trillion odds that police collared the wrong gun suspect, it was “science fiction” for prosecutors to try to admit this evidence without testimony from the analyst who conducted it, New York’s Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Genetic detectives: how scientists use DNA to track disease outbreaks

epidemiologistThey’re the top questions on everyone’s mind when a new disease outbreak happens: where did the virus come from? When did this happen? How long has it been spreading in a particular country or group of people?

New Zealand forensics under the microscope in new series

Scientist from ESRWith the series Forensics NZ screening on Prime, Keith Sharp is given a rare tour of one of New Zealand’s forensic science centres. The documentary series shows actual forensic science being used to solve real crime cases in New Zealand.

Forensic Analysis of Human DNA Conference

Blue Helix2
Advancing Fundamental Technologies from the Crime Lab to the Crime Scene
June 19-24, 2016 in Waterville Valley, NH

This meeting addresses the challenges facing forensic scientists and technology development scientists focused on sensitive STR profiling from DNA extracted from a broader range of sample types and with increasingly lower copy number. The focus will be on current forensic DNA analysis chemistries and instrumentation used for STR profiling, as well as next gen sequencing platforms that potentially offer enhanced capabilities for generating data for human ID. This will be an attractive discussion environment for stimulating discussions between the scientists and molecular biologists developing the technology, and the analysts using it in the criminal justice system. These discussions will be critical in synchronizing the needs of the analyst with the development capabilities of those in the research and development sector.

Touch DNA forensic technology used to nab gas station skimmer crook

touch DNA1LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — Using incredible technology to track invisible DNA, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Largo Police Department were able to catch an alleged crook accused of installing skimming devices at Largo gas pumps.
A simple touch of the hand proved to be the exact road map Pinellas County authorities needed to link skimmers found at a 7/11 gas station in Largo to 35-year-old Rafael De Los Rios, accused of trying to cheat customers out of cash.

New OK Law Requires DNA Samples Upon Felony Arrest

sample analysisOKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires DNA samples to be taken upon booking of a felony arrest.
The bill was brought up the last four years in a row by Rep. Lee Denney, R-District 33 out of Cushing, and failed before making it to the governor’s desk.

DNA Database Helping Solve More Crimes In South Dakota

Helix6PIERRE, S.D. -Since the late 1980s, law enforcement have known the power DNA evidence holds in the courtroom and the role it plays in getting a conviction. But in the last few years, South Dakota authorities are learning that collecting and holding onto that evidence is just as valuable.

OC DNA database closing cases

old DNAIn 2008, an unknown man approached a theater manager using a fake business card to identify himself as a police detective, claiming he was investigating a crime. He then pulled a gun and forced the manager to give him $15,000 from the safe. He fled, but left a rubber glove behind which was analyzed for DNA.

Twelve questions with Keith Bedford

Dr. Keith BedfordESR Forensics boss Dr Keith Bedford has had oversight of the forensic evidence in virtually every high-profile court case in New Zealand in recent decades, some of which are illuminated in Prime TV’s new show Forensics.

How to End an Enormous Backlog of Untested Rape Kits

Sexual assualt backlogAfter years of gathering dust in a Detroit warehouse, thousands of rape kits were finally tested in 2009 and revealed a chilling truth: Of 2,500 DNA hits, 650 turned out to be repeat offenders.
Findings like that raise concerns that there are serial rapists who haven’t been caught because of a backlog of roughly 400,000 untested rape kits sitting in crime labs across the United States, said Julie Smolyansky, an executive producer of The Hunting Ground, an award-winning documentary about campus sexual assault.

New Database Stores DNA for Use in Criminal Investigations

Database1SEOUL, April 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Vast amounts of genetic information from animals, plants, and microorganisms will soon be used in criminal investigations, primarily for crimes related to food and narcotics.
The forensic science division of the supreme prosecutor’s office (director Young-dae Kim) revealed Monday that it launched what is being called a ‘Barcode of Life Database’, which contains DNA information of over 180 million animals, plants, and other microorganisms.

From Fiction to Forensics: An Inspired Story for National DNA Day

DNA sequence examined under a magnifying glassNancy Drew and Kay Scarpetta — two names that will always put a smile on my face. I spent much of my youth reading about these two strong female characters. What do they have in common? They are fictional detectives that had an early influence on the career in DNA forensics that I have today at NIST.
As a young, avid reader, I remember always being at the bookstore when the latest Nancy Drew book was released, and I would devour it as fast as I could. These mysteries made me think, solve analytical problems, and simply want the “bad guys” to be caught and punished. I wanted to figure it out and actually be Nancy Drew.