Monthly Archives: December 2015

Ancient Irish genome reveals a massive migration from the east

DNA LabJust over 5,000 years ago, there lived an Irish farmer with black hair and dark eyes. Her DNA spoke of ancestors mostly Middle Eastern in origin, and she would have looked more like a southern European woman than a red-haired Irish lass.

Free Webinar: Massively Parallel Sequencing for Forensic DNA Analysis

WebinarsIn this webinar, we presented data demonstrating performance of the PowerSeq™ Systems, and outline the strengths and limitations of massively parallel sequencing technologies for routine forensic analysis. The prototype PowerSeq™ Systems include primers and amplification master mix for sequencing autosomal short tandem repeats (STRs), Y-chromosome STRs, the mitochondrial DNA control region, and various combinations of the three on an Illumina MiSeq® System.

Speaker: Douglas R. Storts, Ph.D.
Head of Research, Nucleic Acid Technologies, Promega Corporation

Slides available for download.

Rulemaking Under Way for DNA Testing for Hawaiian Homelands

Hawaian VillageWhen the state deemed Leighton Pang Kee ineligible for one of the most valuable benefits available to Native Hawaiians — land at almost no cost — because he couldn’t show that he was at least 50 percent Hawaiian, he sued.

NIJ awards FIU $1.5 million for forensic science research

NIJ and IFRIResearchers at FIU’s International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI) have been awarded $1.5 million from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to further research in drug exposure detection, crime scene investigation, synthetic cannabinoids and DNA analysis.

DC forensics lab to resume DNA testing in January

DNA LabWASHINGTON – Nine months after DNA testing was suspended at the District’s independent crime lab, officials said evidence analysis will resume in January following a training and management overhaul.

Tennessee Reduces Backlog Of Untested Rape Kits, Sets New Rules For Police

TBITennessee police departments have dramatically reduced their numbers of untested rape kits since a new state requirement took effect this year. Now a set of new written standards, finalized this week, will also govern how police take care of sexual assault survivors.

Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Is Addressing Issues of Unsubmitted Kits

Justice DeptThe National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has formed the NIJ-FBI Sexual Assault Kit Partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in Quantico, VA, to help address one of the most difficult and complex issues facing our nation’s criminal justice system: sexual assault kits that have gone unsubmitted to forensic laboratories. Through the Partnership, the FBI Laboratory tests kits from law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories across the country to reduce the number of untested kits in the U.S.

Rape cases crawl as 2 forensic labs struggle with 2,500 DNA samples

DNA RenderingIn August last year, a special fast track court (FTC) dealing with cases of sexual assault on women asked for the crucial forensic report in a 2014 case of alleged rape and murder in South Delhi. After repeated reminders, the forensic department finally informed the court this September that the report’s “results are not yet ready”.
On September 8, leaving the Delhi police and forensic agencies red-faced, additional sessions judge (ASJ) Devendra Kumar Sharma said: “…in the Sheena Bora case, which is under media scrutiny, even the DNA test is carried out within one month. This kind of promptness is required in all cases related to heinous offences. But unfortunately, same is not done even in the present case where allegation is of murder after committing rape…”

Congress slated to increase rape kit funding by $45M

sexual assault kit 4WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are positioned to devote $45 million in the 2016 fiscal year to combat the nation’s accumulation of untested sexual assault kits.
The funding, included as part of the omnibus spending bill Congress released Wednesday, is aimed at helping local law enforcement agencies test backlogged sexual assault evidence kits and perform related activities as part of a U.S. Justice Department initiative.

Police Lift DNA From ATM Skimming Device Used at NYC McDonald’s

dna from atmMANHATTAN, NY — The DNA of a suspect in an ATM skimming case spanning from Bethel, Conn., to NYC has been recovered, Bethel Police Lt. Michael Libertini announced Wednesday.

FBI Director says Hatch’s DNA Bill will “Change the World”

Rapid DNAWASHINGTON, D.C. — FBI Director James Comey last week praised a bill introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as a “very exciting” tool that will enable law enforcement officials to obtain results from DNA samples in criminal investigations. The endorsement came during a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Hatch is a former chairman and current member

ISHI 27 Workshop Proposals due January 15

ISHI 27 There is still time to submit a workshop proposal for ISHI 27. The ISHI Program Committee invites interested parties to submit proposals via the official conference web site: http://www.ishinews.com All workshop proposals will be reviewed by committee and selected based on perceived interest to the forensic community. Proposals must not be commercial in nature and are due no later than January 15.
For questions contact carol.bingham@promega.com.

Your Hair Mites Are So Loyal Their DNA Reflects Your Ancestry

Hair mitesMost people would probably prefer to forget that their eyebrows are also shaggy ecosystems, home to scores of microscopic hair mites. But a DNA analysis reveals that your mites are incredibly loyal to you—and that could help scientists trace ancient human migrations and perhaps find new ways to treat common skin ailments

Prosecutors want to collect DNA at arrest, not after conviction

DNA Human GenomeThe DNA collected from five rape victims in Augusta indicated that a single predator was at work.
But the predator himself, an exceptionally violent rapist who forced two of his victims into an Augusta cemetery before sexually assaulting them, remained unknown.

UC San Diego Scientist Looks To Microbes For Forensic Clues

Rob KnightAnyone who’s seen an episode of “CSI” knows that crime scene investigators look at a host of biological evidence, like DNA or fingerprints, when they come across an unexplained dead body.
In a new study, San Diego scientists say investigators might want to look at another powerful clue: microbes.