Monthly Archives: June 2017

Catch The Freshest Ideas At ISHI 2017!

For 27 years, the International Symposium on Human Identification has been the meeting where DNA professionals come to learn about, discuss, and share the latest technologies.

Promega Tech Tours 2017: The Power to Solve for the Forensic Community

2017 finds Promega on the road visiting cities all across the United States. This year we are presenting workshops from leaders in the forensics community on topics like maximizing success with challenging samples, improving laboratory efficiency and reducing backlogs, and new tools and technologies for the forensics laboratory. This highly popular workshop series is a great way to learn from your peers about new techniques and workflows and network with other forensics experts in your region.

Genetic bank that ID’s Argentina’s stolen babies turns 30

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Martin Ogando and his 91-year-old grandmother, Delia Giovanola, flip through a stack of photos until they reach an image of a man Ogando never saw in life: his father.
The two share similar skin tone and blue eyes — products of the same genetics that finally allowed Ogando to discover his birth identity through DNA tests in November 2015.
The tests showed that he’s the biological son of Jorge Ogando and Stella Maris Montesano, a child born in captivity in a clandestine detention center and taken away from parents who were forcibly disappeared in 1976 during Argentina’s dictatorship.

Science organizations renew call for independent U.S. committee on forensics

Leading U.S. science organizations called on the Justice Department to renew an abandoned partnership with independent scientists to help raise forensic science standards, warning bluntly that doubts about questioned techniques have grown to the point that “society’s faith in the American justice system is at risk.”
The groups, led by the nation’s largest general scientific body and professional societies representing chemists, statisticians and human behavioral and brain researchers, were responding to the Trump administration’s decision to replace the National Commission on Forensic Science with an in-house law enforcement task force and yet-to-be-named adviser.

New money means more GBI scientists to test rape kits for DNA

For years, thousands of rape kits sat in storage at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation untouched and untested as the agency’s crime lab found itself short-staffed and unable to keep pace.
But an influx of more than $850,000 in new funding from the state to add more scientists and lab technicians has officials hopeful the agency will eventually eliminate the rape kit backlog.

Missouri Man Cleared in 1997 Sex Case by DNA Evidence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who spent nearly two decades in mental hospitals after entering a disputed plea in the 1997 sexual assault of a teenager has been cleared of the crime after genetic evidence was re-tested and excluded him as a suspect.

Orange County supervisors pass $6.2 billion budget, which increases deputies’ pay, hires more forensic scientists

The sheriff’s department also will add four new deputy positions to patrol the county’s unincorporated areas, four crime lab analysts to test DNA in criminal cases, and six forensic scientists to address a backlog in testing sexual assault evidence. Those additional scientists will help process rape kits in under a month – which in line with national recommendations – instead of the 30 to 45 days the process now takes in the county.

Salvador Dalí’s Body Ordered Exhumed In Paternity Suit

In a surreal turn, a judge in Madrid ordered that Salvador Dalí’s body — interred for nearly three decades — be exhumed after a 61-year-old Spanish woman claimed the renowned painter was her father.

DNA data from missing in 2011 tsunami will enter database

To lower the number still missing from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the National Police Agency will begin utilizing a nationwide database on unidentified bodies as early as July.
The NPA will compare data on missing people in the three prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, which were hit hard by the powerful tsunami, with its database.

Familial DNA Approved In New York State

The parents of slain jogger Karina Vetrano received further solace on Friday after the New York State Commission on Forensic Science announced that the familial-DNA genetic search tool can now be utilized in the state.
Phil and Cathy Vetrano had been advocates of the policy for months; they held a press conference on February 3 during which they endorsed the tool, which searches law-enforcement DNA databases for relatives of a genetic profile that forensics build at the scene of a crime.

DNA discovery reveals genetic history of ancient Egyptians

(CNN)Ancient Egyptians and their modern counterparts share less in common than you might think. That is, at least genetically, a team of scientists have found.
Researchers from the University of Tuebingen and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, both in Germany, have decoded the genome of ancient Egyptians for the first time, with unexpected results.

Virginia deserves applause for its work to eliminate a rape kit backlog

NOTHING IS a more powerful symbol of the failure of the criminal justice system to take sexual assault seriously than the tens of thousands of rape kits that languish — untested — in police departments and crime labs across the country. So when authorities undertake to eliminate the existing backlog and prevent future ones, it is a sign of a new approach that prioritizes getting justice for victims and holding offenders accountable. That is what is happening in Virginia, and it should be applauded.

Not Guilty, and Released Thanks to Them

The artist Taryn Simon’s “The Innocents” opened at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Saturday. While the project dates from 2002, its subject is timeless: wrongful conviction for violent crimes and the subsequent reversal of those convictions because of DNA evidence. Ms. Simon photographed a number of those exonerated in locations that were significant to the case, such as the scene of the crime, the scene of the alibi, or the scene of misidentification.

London fire may have destroyed DNA needed to ID victims

The devastating fire that struck a high-rise tower in London may have been so powerful that it destroyed much of the DNA evidence needed to identify its victims.
As firefighters keep searching the charred ruins of the Grenfell Tower public housing complex with sniffer dogs and drones, Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said there was “a risk that, sadly, we may not be able to identify everybody.”

Asia’s Rising Scientists: Maria Corazon de Ungria

From helping wrongfully accused prisoners to building the DNA biobank of the Philippines, Dr. Maria Corazon de Ungria is committed to conducting science with a purpose.