US police agencies with their own DNA databases stir debate

DNA seqDozens of police departments around the U.S. are amassing their own DNA databases to track criminals, a move critics say is a way around regulations governing state and national databases that restrict who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held.

Sexual assault survivor hopeful Indiana arrestee DNA bill will become law

helix9(WHAS11) — Indiana appears headed to pass a DNA bill that would require samples from felony suspects. Supporters suggest it could prevent crime and catch killers and rapists.
Senate Bill 322 and House Bill 1577 are similar to a plan that has failed in Kentucky.

Checking on the status of untested rape kits in Florida

analystThe Florida Department of Law Enforcement took a look at the backlog throughout the state of rape kits in Florida. Their report from last year says it will take between $9 and 32 million to test old kits. It will take 3 to 9 years for the testing to happen.

Rape kit backlog still a problem in the Coastal Empire

sexual assault kitsSAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -GBI investigators in Savannah are taking us behind the scenes, showing the real reason thousands of rape kits in Georgia remain backlogged after lawmakers passed legislation requiring all kits be processed by the GBI.
While the state has made some progress overall since this legislation was passed, investigators haven’t made a dent in the number of cases in our area.

New research on rape kit processing sees improvements

Blue Helix2Since 2011, BYU nursing professor Julie Valentine has been researching the issues surrounding sexual assault kit processing and has been working with law enforcement agencies to improve the process.
Nearly one year ago, in a press conference at BYU, Valentine spoke to a room full of media about the results of her groundbreaking study, looking at the processing of 1,874 sexual assault kits, commonly called rape kits, in seven Utah counties between 2010 and 2013. This was the most comprehensive study ever conducted on sexual assault kits in the United States.

How Machine Learning Is Changing Crime-Solving Tactics

dna-computerModern forensic DNA analyses are crucial to crime scene investigations; however the interpretation of the DNA profiles can be complex. Two researchers from the Forensics and National Security Sciences Institute (FNSSI) have turned to computer technology to assist complicated profile interpretation, specifically when it comes to samples containing DNA from multiple people.

DNA analysis of severed leg could take weeks, officials say

femur-analysisNJ NATIONAL PARK — Officials say it will take several weeks to analyze DNA collected from a human leg found on the Delaware River shoreline on Sunday.
The decomposed lower leg and foot have no markings, and no clothing or shoe were attached, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office.

2nd International Symposium on Forensic Science Error Management

nist-image-for-error-symposiumNIST and the FBI invite you to the second International Symposium on Forensic Science Error Management, where speakers, panels, posters, and workshops will address ways to detect, measure, and mitigate forensic science errors. This symposium promises an eye-opening, candid appraisal of root causes and possible solutions while providing a forum for open dialog about this sensitive topic.

Ancient DNA Yields Unprecedented Insights into Mysterious Chaco Civilization

pueblo-bonitoThe results suggest that a maternal “dynasty” ruled the society’s greatest mansion for more than 300 years, but concerns over research ethics cast a shadow on the technical achievement.

Harvard Medical School Geneticist David Reich Shares $1M Prize for Ancient DNA Discoveries

ancient human DNANewswise — David Reich, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, has been named co-recipient of the 2017 Dan David Prize in archaeology and natural sciences.
Citing Reich as “the world’s leading pioneer in analyzing ancient human DNA,” the prize committee recognized him for his discovery that Neanderthals and humans interbred, “which was a step-change in human evolution studies.”
Reich shares the $1 million prize with longtime collaborator Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, who is credited with founding the field of genomic archaeology.

House approves bill calling for DNA swabs to be taken from those arrested for felonies

buccal-swab-1INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would allow law enforcement to expand the use of DNA to combat and solve crimes.
Under House Bill 1577, those arrested for a felony would have a DNA profile taken through a cheek swab. The profile would be run through a federal DNA database to help law enforcement with unsolved crimes.
Currently, Indiana law only allows for the swab to be taken after a felony conviction.

Cutting-Edge Dna Analysis Adds New Insight To Three Centuries Of Pueblo History

pueblo-artifactsA single small burial room in the ruins of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon held the richest cache of rare and valuable materials – turquoise, silver, abalone and conch shells – ever found in the American Southwest.
Now, researchers have determined for the first time – through mitochondrial and nuclear DNA testing – that the individuals interred there more than 1,000 years ago were related through the female line and most likely part of an elite lineage or clan.

Austin Police Department Contracts Company to Clear DNA Kit Backlog

DNA RenderingAPD will contract with a company called Signature Science to test up to 60 cases a month. The police department has been reeling from the effects of closing its DNA lab last June.

Va. Beach rape kits get hits in CODIS DNA database

dna-testNORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — Rape victims in Hampton Roads are one step closer to justice.
13News Now has uncovered the results of newly-tested rape kits from some of our local police departments, and they match suspects in the national database.
Some of the victims in these cases have been waiting for test results of their rape kits for decades. We now know evidence from 14 of the kits sent from Virginia Beach Police matches profiles already in CODIS.

DNA evidence revealed

evidence-collectionMENOMINEE — Jolene Eichhorn’s blood was found in Gregory Ihander’s home and on his clothing, and Ihander’s DNA was found along with Eichhorn’s on the bloody sandals found in a trash bag in his bathroom Sept. 9, 2015.
A DNA expert from the Michigan State Police Department of Forensic Science in Grand Rapids testified Friday in Menominee County Circuit Court to the DNA matches that were found on several items taken from Ihander’s home and on the clothing he was wearing the day he was arrested.