‘Spit kits’ to catch transport offenders

West Midlands Safer Travel Police are catching more and more offenders using DNA from “spit kits”.
West Midlands bus drivers have been given mini DNA kits to help police track anyone who spits at them or their passengers.

Manhattan cold case suspects charged 2 decades after deadly stabbing, NYPD says

When Manhattan businessman Howard Pilmar, 40, was found stabbed and slashed to death in his office supply business on March 21, 1996, police reportedly said it was going to be an easy case to solve.
Tuesday, more than 21 years later, prosecutors and police finally announced the indictment of Pilmar’s wife Roslyn and her brother Evan Wald on second-degree murder charges in a killing investigators indicated was motivated by her need for money.

45 bodies recovered from Marawi up for DNA tests: PNP

MANILA — The Philippine National Police crime laboratory on Tuesday reported the retrieval of 45 bodies from Marawi City, which will undergo DNA examinations.
Thirty-five of the bodies were retrieved by the PNP’s Scene of Crime Operation (SOCO) teams and 10 by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Supt. Ramos Bergonio, PNP Crime Laboratory operations head, said his unit has begun processing the bodies and collecting antemortem data consisting of buccal swabs for DNA examination, as well as gathering personal information from immediate claimants of the bodies.

Introduction of a dedicated Gibraltar DNA Database

The Royal Gibraltar Police are to be greatly assisted in the fight against crime with the introduction of a dedicated Gibraltar DNA Database.
Police have today announced that together with Cellmark Forensic Services in the UK they have established the provision and maintenance of a DNA Database, to complement the existing forensic DNA services already undertaken by the RGP.

National Institute Of Justice Releases Best Practices For Sexual Assault Kits

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today released a report on National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach.
The report describes a victim-centered response to sexual assault cases that positively impacts sexual assault response, the experiences of victims, and ultimately results in safer communities.
An NIJ working group consisting of victims, victim advocates, sexual assault nurse and medical examiners, prosecutors, forensic scientists, and law enforcement officials, created the report in response to the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act of 2013, which focuses on the accurate, timely, and effective collection and processing of DNA evidence in sexual assault investigations.

Three’s A Crowd. FDA Says No To Three Parent Babies

Just because you did something once last year in Mexico does not mean you can do it here. That is the message the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is sending to a physician in New York.
Dr. John Zhang runs the New Hope Fertility Center. The center, located in a high rent district of Manhattan, is in the business of infertility treatments which are generally not a problem. It is, specifically, fertility treatments using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replacement therapy (MRT) that were banned. Dr. Zhang started marketing this type of treatment through the website of his company Darwin Life (the website was not available at the time of this writing.)

Court reinstates $2.3 million award to homeless man who spent year in solitary confinement before charges dropped

A federal appeals court reinstated a $2.3 million award to a homeless man who spent more than a year in solitary confinement before the government dropped its charges against him.
The government charged Marlow Humbert with committing sexual assault and placed him in pretrial solitary confinement, where he spent nearly 15 months.

Latest tool that helped lead Charleston police to home invasion, sex assault suspect: a vacuum

…Chief Greg Mullen of the Charleston Police Department said the victim could tell only that her assailant was a black man. Detectives had no other clues at the investigation’s start.
But the special wet vacuum, which the city recently received through a $50,000 federal grant under the Violence Against Women Act, changed that, he said. The M-Vac system collects trace amounts of DNA and other evidence when traditional methods might fail…

State officials say 95 untested sexual assault kits sent for testing

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office said that 95 out of more than 4,200 untested sexual assault kits that have been sitting in evidence in law enforcement agencies across the state have been sent for testing as of Friday.

DNA samples from immigrant families sought to help ID missing, dead relatives

A special team of immigration advocates, working in collaboration with forensic experts, will be in Manhattan later this month to get DNA samples from New York City area immigrant families whose relatives are missing and may have died crossing the deserts of the American southwest.

Justice Dept. tries to shore up forensic science, testimony

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is trying to shore up faltering confidence in forensic science and how its experts describe their findings in court, a push that comes months after similar efforts dating to the Obama administration were suspended.
The department said Monday it is reviving work on federal standards for forensic expert testimony, an effort initiated following revelations in 2015 that FBI experts had overstated the strength of evidence involving microscopic hair analysis in hundreds of cases dating back decades.

New DNA test identifies 9/11 victim’s remains nearly 16 years later

The remains of a man killed at the World Trade Centre on September 11 have been identified nearly 16 years after the terror attacks.
His name was withheld at his family’s request, the New York City medical examiner’s office said.
The announcement marked the first new identification made since March 2015 in the painstaking effort.

Sampling DNA From a 1,000-Year-Old Illuminated Manuscript

Genetic analysis could revolutionize the study of medieval books.
If their technique works, it could revolutionize the use of parchment to study history. Every one of these books is a herd of animals. Using DNA, researchers might track how a disease changed the makeup of a herd or how the skin of sheep from one region moved to another medieval trade routes. It’s part of a growing movement to bring together scholars in the sciences and humanities to study medieval manuscripts.

Register Now for ABC Exam

Due to popular demand, an American Board of Criminalistics (ABC) exam will be offered in conjunction with ISHI 28 on Sunday, October 1 from 1:00-4:00pm. The exam will take place at the Washington State Convention Center. Applications to sit for the exam must be received by August 4. Certification requirements, study guides and the application form are available on the ABC website. If a minimum number of participants is not reached, the exam may be cancelled.

The Fight Against Human Trafficking

DNA-Prokids, conceived by Dr. Jose Lorente at the University of Grenada, applies a scientific solution to the problem. The idea is simple: reunite families by testing parental DNA against that of children pulled from suspicious circumstances and illegal adoption centers. Lorente partnered in the project with the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification. Since 2007, DNA-Prokids has reunited more than 700 kids with their parents while preventing more than 200 illegal adoptions.