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The Lead

15 Suspended after NY State Police Probe

April 23, 2015 9:43 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Although the new software was not used in any cases involving the suspended employees, the agency said it is providing pertinent information to ensure legal obligations are upheld in cases involving the suspended employees.

DNA as a Sketch Artist: How Forensic Science Benefits from Physical Predictions

April 22, 2015 4:39 pm | by Katrina Voss | Articles | Comments

It’s a typical summer day in southwest Louisiana. The air is spongy with heat as alligators sun...

DNA Lab Lets the Science Talk in Criminal Cases

April 17, 2015 1:48 pm | by Romando Dixson, Greenville Online | News | Comments

The roles of the DNA analysts at the Greenville lab in South Carolina are not as glamorous as...

The Search for Lincoln's DNA

April 17, 2015 1:11 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Scientists will compare any DNA found on the bed sheet to future tests of blood samples from...

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Researchers have developed a statistical model that allows them to tell where a dust sample came from within the continental United States based on the DNA of fungi found in the sample. The primary goal of the research was to develop a new forensic biolog

Dust Samples Traced Using Fungal DNA

April 16, 2015 10:28 am | by NC State University | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a statistical model that allows them to tell where a dust sample came from within the continental United States based on the DNA of fungi found in the sample. The primary goal of the research was to develop a new forensic biology tool for law enforcement or archeologists.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the USS Oklahoma was hit with numerous torpedoes and bombs during Japan’s fierce and shocking bombardment of Pearl Harbor, killing some 429 service members. The Pentagon has now decided to exhume unidentified remains held at the National

USS Oklahoma Remains to be Exhumed, Commingled DNA Examined

April 15, 2015 12:53 pm | by Dan Lamothe, The Washington Post | News | Comments

On Dec. 7, 1941, the USS Oklahoma was hit with numerous torpedoes and bombs during Japan’s fierce and shocking bombardment of Pearl Harbor, killing some 429 service members. The Pentagon has now decided to exhume unidentified remains held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, do DNA testing, and return any identified remains to families that want them.

Aaron Hernandez Convicted of First Degree Murder

April 15, 2015 11:01 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Jurors found Hernandez guilty of first degree murder for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. Prosecutors presented condemning crime scene evidence to the jury, including DNA from a joint and shell casings found at the scene.

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Virginia's DNA Data Bank Tallies 10,000th Hit

April 14, 2015 12:28 pm | by Joe Dashiell, WDBJ7 | News | Comments

Governor Terry McAuliffe and Senator Mark Warner toured the department Monday, as they highlighted the 10,000th cold hit linking a DNA profile in the data bank with evidence from a criminal case.

DNA Testing Scandal Hits NY State Police

April 14, 2015 11:59 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Two state police supervisors were suspended in February, and 10 other scientists have been taken off casework as the investigation widens.

Oldest Ever DNA Sample from Calcified Neanderthal Man

April 13, 2015 1:14 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Nicknamed the “Altamura Man,” the bones were calcified into the walls of the cave after the ancient man slipped and fell into a well approximately 200,000 years ago.

In Contra Costa County, California, two cold cases dating back more than two decades are now believed solved thanks to new DNA technology.

New DNA Technology Helps Solve Two Decades-Old Murder Cases

April 10, 2015 2:56 pm | by Janet O, ABC 7 Chicago | News | Comments

In Contra Costa County, California, two cold cases dating back more than two decades are now believed solved thanks to new DNA technology.

Why Backlogged Kits are a Public Safety Problem

April 10, 2015 12:48 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

The fact is that testing backlogged rape kits takes sexual predators off our streets now. Getting rape kits to laboratories is not only morally right to help bring justice and closure to victims, but an important public safety issue.

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DNA profiling (or genetic fingerprinting) has proved a revolutionary tool for forensic investigators as a means to identify potential suspects, exonerate the innocent and convict the guilty. But, like any forensic technique, it has its limitations. One li

Pointing the Finger at the Right Identical Twin Just Got Easier

April 8, 2015 9:21 am | by Graham Williams, The Convesation | News | Comments

DNA profiling (or genetic fingerprinting) has proved a revolutionary tool for forensic investigators as a means to identify potential suspects, exonerate the innocent and convict the guilty. But, like any forensic technique, it has its limitations. One limitation is in cases involving identical twins, something that has raised technical, legal and ethical problems – until now.  

Recently, Anthony Hinton became the 152nd death-row prisoner to be exonerated since 1973. Like most people who’ve been exonerated to date, Hinton didn’t rely on new DNA evidence to prove him innocent.

Better Forensics Aren't Enough to Prevent Wrongful Death Sentences

April 7, 2015 2:26 pm | by Leah Libresco, FiveThirtyEight | News | Comments

Recently, Anthony Hinton became the 152nd death-row prisoner to be exonerated since 1973. Like most people who’ve been exonerated to date, Hinton didn’t rely on new DNA evidence to prove him innocent.

A new report describes findings about unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan. A multidisciplinary team investigated the situation and found a number of effective and sustainable responses and ways to prevent the problem from r

Responding to Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits

April 7, 2015 1:51 pm | by Rebecca Campbell, NIJ | News | Comments

A new report describes findings about unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan. A multidisciplinary team investigated the situation and found a number of effective and sustainable responses and ways to prevent the problem from recurring.

Iraqi forensic teams in the newly recaptured city of Tikrit have started exhuming bodies from mass graves believed to contain some of the hundreds of soldiers killed by Islamic State militants last year, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

Iraqi Forensic Teams Start Exhuming Mass Grave of Soldiers

April 7, 2015 1:27 pm | by Sinan Salaheddin, Associated Press | News | Comments

Iraqi forensic teams in the newly recaptured city of Tikrit have started exhuming bodies from mass graves believed to contain some of the hundreds of soldiers killed by Islamic State militants last year, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

The beige cotton bedspread carefully stored in acid-free white tissue paper in a temperature- and humidity-monitored room at the Wisconsin Historical Society may have been on Lincoln's deathbed. Or it might not have been. No one knows for sure.

Blanket Said to be From Lincoln’s Deathbed Tested for Blood Stains

April 6, 2015 12:46 pm | by Meg Jones, The Journal Sentinel | News | Comments

The beige cotton bedspread carefully stored in acid-free white tissue paper in a temperature- and humidity-monitored room at the Wisconsin Historical Society may have been on Lincoln's deathbed. Or it might not have been. No one knows for sure.

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Dog-poop DNA Tests Nail Non-scoopers

April 6, 2015 11:57 am | by Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times | News | Comments

A company called BioPet Vet Lab, out of Knoxville, Tenn., says its PooPrints testing kits are now in 26 apartment and condo complexes and homeowner associations in greater Seattle.

Scandals Mount for SFPD as Lab Technician Fails DNA Exam

April 2, 2015 2:53 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Civilian police employees Mignon Dunbar, and her supervisor, Cherisse Boland, were barred from processing evidence after the results of the test, and have been on personal leave since allegations that Dunbar misrepresented DNA evidence in a two-year old child molestation case.

One of the FBI's "most wanted" terrorists, was killed in a raid in the Philippines in January, according to a report by Reuters. DNA analysis of a severed finger transported to the United States confirms it.

Terrorist's Finger Transported to US for DNA Testing

April 2, 2015 2:36 pm | by Ernie Austin, Associate Editor | News | Comments

One of the FBI's "most wanted" terrorists, was killed in a raid in the Philippines in January, according to a report by Reuters. DNA analysis of a severed finger transported to the United States confirms it.

Scientific evidence and expert witness testimony are integral to criminal trials worldwide. Yet while we live in a scientific age of increasingly specialized expert knowledge, a growing reliance on forensic evidence is a double-edged sword.

Forensic Evidence Offers Only Probabilities, Not Guarantees That Justice Will be Served

April 2, 2015 10:20 am | by Paul Roberts, The Conversation | News | Comments

Scientific evidence and expert witness testimony are integral to criminal trials worldwide. Yet while we live in a scientific age of increasingly specialized expert knowledge, a growing reliance on forensic evidence is a double-edged sword.

Human facial diversity is substantial, complex, and largely scientifically unexplained. The author measured face shape in population samples with mixed West African and European ancestry from the United States, Brazil, and Cape Verde. Using bootstrapped r

Identifying and Communicating Genetic Determinants of Facial Features: Practical Considerations in Forensic Molecular Photofitting

April 2, 2015 8:44 am | by Mark Shriver, NIJ | News | Comments

Using bootstrapped response-based imputation modeling (BRIM), the author has uncovered the relationships between facial variation and the effects of sex, genomic ancestry, and a set of craniofacial candidate genes that show signatures of accelerated evolution.

Prosecutors typically downplay their elation when they win murder trials. Their usual responses, at least publicly, are lines like: "There are no winners here, but justice was served" etc. But on March 20, when a Schenectady County jury found 48-year-old

DNA Study is Winner in Cold Case Murder Conviction

April 2, 2015 8:03 am | by Robert Gavion, Times Union | News | Comments

Prosecutors typically downplay their elation when they win murder trials. Their usual responses, at least publicly, are lines like: "There are no winners here, but justice was served" etc. But on March 20, when a Schenectady County jury found 48-year-old John Wakefield guilty of first-degree murder in the April 11, 2010, strangling of Brett Wentworth, there was a winner.

‘Worst of the Worst’ Rapist Gets 110 Years to Life

April 1, 2015 1:40 pm | by Sean Allocca, Editor | Articles | Comments

Dwayne Wilson, 54, was convicted on seven counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping for assaults on four women stemming back to the 1990s only days before he was to be released from prison last October. One of the victims was only 16 years old.

Visual Artist Creates 3-D Portraits From Pieces of Chewed Gum

March 31, 2015 11:05 am | by Andy Roesgen, DNAinfo | News | Comments

You lose your wallet on a busy Michigan Avenue. Or you forget your phone in a crowded restaurant — and all your private information just sits there, waiting to be found. As gut-wrenching as it may feel, a Chicago "bio-artist" wonders if some day you might feel the same dread from your discarded coffee cup, or chewed-up piece of gum, or a single strand of hair left in public.

King Richard III's Facial Features Reconstructed

March 31, 2015 10:47 am | by Rhian Lubin, The Liverpool Echo | News | Comments

Originally the king was thought to have dark hair and black eyes, but the new tests reveal he most likely had mousey-brown hair and blue eyes.

DNA Cracks 30-year-old Cold Case Murder

March 31, 2015 10:34 am | by Alex LeFriec, KXLY.com | News | Comments

The last time Jeffrey Vargos's family saw their son alive he was riding his bike in an Anaheim, California neighborhood in July of 1981. The next day his body was found at a construction site more than 20 miles away in Pomona. Vargos had been strangled to death.

Nanotech-Supercarbon, Graphene, Could Significantly Speed Up Sequencing

March 31, 2015 10:22 am | by Sean Allocca, Editor | News | Comments

Using a two-dimensional, hexagonal lattice of carbon atoms, called graphene, researchers say they have observed small structural changes to the material in a “measurably different way” that can be used to detect the four nucleobases, according to a report from the University of Melbourne. A unique combination of these nucleobases – adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine – create the individual genetic DNA sequence.

DNA Evidence Used to Prevent Costly Medical Errors

March 30, 2015 11:31 am | by Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star | News | Comments

Indianapolis-based Strand Analytical Laboratories, which was started a decade ago to run DNA tests on crime scene evidence, now spends most of its time helping solve false positives on cancer biopsies.

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