Monthly Archives: April 2013

Zambia: First DNA Lab Launched in Zambia

Helix6ZAMBIA has launched its first – ever DNA forensic laboratory which will help law enforcement agencies track down killers as the country experiences an unprecedented rise in unsolved murders.

Britain goes from ‘pole position to banana republic’ in DNA profiling

human idSerious crimes are going unsolved because Britain has failed to keep up to date with DNA technology, the founding fathers of genetic fingerprinting say.
The country has gone from “pole position to banana republic” in this area of investigation since the closure of the Forensic Science Service, according to Sir Alec Jeffreys.
Peter Gill, who worked with Sir Alec on the first demonstration of DNA profiling, was equally critical, and accused the Home Office of standing by while almost every other European cpuntry had adopteed the next generation of DNA profiling tests. (Subscription required)

DNA Analyst Training on Mixture Interpretation Webcast Now Posted Online

NIST Forensics LogoThe National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hosted a free one-day workshop on interpreting forensic DNA mixtures in casework. This workshop was webcast live to maximize participation by forensic DNA analysts.

Researcher reveals new way to safeguard DNA samples

DNA Profile from knife(Phys.org) —DNA evidence is invisible and remarkably easy to transfer, making it possible for a sample to be spilled or even planted on a piece of evidence.
Boise State University professor Greg Hampikian is known internationally for his work in DNA forensics, and he has developed a solution that permanently marks DNA samples to prevent contamination. Hampikian has used nullomers, the smallest DNA sequences that are absent from nature, to create the DNA bar code.

Broadened DNA law aids crime-solving, including cold cases

DNA DatabaseThe recent arrest of a suspected serial rapist illustrates the crime-fighting benefit of broadening Nebraska’s law on collecting DNA from convicted felons, authorities say.
A year after the Nebraska State Patrol conducted a record 8,700 DNA tests on felons, it made an unprecedented 75 matches to the DNA database maintained by the FBI. That enabled the State Patrol to provide local law enforcement agencies in Nebraska and elsewhere with key information to solving outstanding crimes, some of which had long grown cold.

Rape Suspect Denied DNA Test Is Finally Cleared

DNA and justiceAn innocent man languishes in jail in Oklahoma for three months after police tell him they did not want to waste taxpayer’s money.

Rape Kit Backlog: Our National Problem

EvidenceThousands of rapists could be walking free because no one is looking for them and the evidence of their crime will likely go untested. The evidence of hundreds of rapes sits on evidence shelves in police departments across Oklahoma, some are backlog due to lack of resources to perform testing.

Boston bombing probe: What female DNA may mean in investigation

Boston Bomb(CBS News) There is new focus in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation on the widow of suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Investigators have identified female DNA on a fragment of one of the bombs used in Boston. It’s not clear what that means — the DNA could have come from an injured spectator, or perhaps from a clerk who sold the materials used in the bombs. But, there’s also a chance, it could lead the FBI to a female accomplice.

Leahy & Cornyn Introduce Legislation To Reauthorize Landmark Justice For All Act

CourtWASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced legislation Thursday to reauthorize the Justice For All Act, a vital law that seeks to help ensure that the criminal justice system functions fairly.

Utah company’s forensic technology featured on ‘CSI’

Crime tapeBLUFFDALE – A Utah-based company’s forensic DNA collection system will be soon featured on internationally watched television.
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” the No. 1 TV show worldwide, is about a team of forensic investigators in Las Vegas who use both cutting-edge scientific methods and old-fashioned police work to solve crimes. In the upcoming season 13 episode 21, set to air May 8 at 9 p.m. local time on CBS, the investigators will be using the revolutionary technology of wet-vacuum DNA collection to help crack a particularly tough case.

Lawyers for Massachusetts man imprisoned for 41 years seek new trial in murder case

DNA4Robert Breest had the chance to walk out of prison on parole, after spending nearly half his life there — if he admitted to committing a 1971 murder. But the former Lowell carpenter, now 75, steadfastly refused.

Kentucky criminals must have access to evidence for DNA testing, Supreme Court rules

GavelTwo offenders serving life sentences for murder based on “highly circumstantial evidence” should have access to evidence to conduct DNA testing that wasn’t available at the time of their trial, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.

DNA linked to suspect in Harmon murder trial

Model of a DNA MoleculeLAFAYETTE — Evidence expert Carolyn Booker testified Thursday that DNA collected from Christine Dupuis Wood’s body in July 1989 provided overwhelming proof that Daniel Joseph Harmon had sex with her before she was strangled and shot three times in the head.
In his wheelchair, Harmon, 44, listened to testimony Thursday, the third day of his second-degree murder trial. He was 20 and a neighbor of Wood in the Marigny Circle area of the parish, west of Lafayette, when Wood was killed in her bedroom and her body set on fire.

Kan. expects results soon in ‘In Cold Blood’ tests

In Cold BloodTopeka — The Kansas Bureau of Investigation expects to have results early next month from tests on DNA from the two men executed for the 1959 murders inspiring Truman Capote’s classic book, “In Cold Blood,” to see whether they are linked to decades-old killings in Florida, a top KBI official said Thursday.

DNA: What Have You Done for Me Lately?

WellsHuffington Post Blog from Spencer Wells-I recently turned 44. As with all of one’s birthdays, a milestone like this is a chance to gaze backward and assess, as well as an opportunity to look to the future and imagine possibilities. As I do this, though, I’m cognizant of a friend who is being celebrated for turning 60 this year. She’s been in my life since before I was born, and she will be around long after I’ve faded into distant memory. But, in the way that humans do when we describe a feature in the natural world, we’ve assigned to her a birthday based on when we first recognized how special she was. I’m talking, of course, about deoxyribonucleic acid — DNA, our blueprint, the hardware/software combination that keeps us on the straight and narrow, controlling our development as we grow from fertilized egg to adult, as well as our biological evolution as a species.