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This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Idaho Becomes First in the Nation with Online Tracking of Sexual Assault […]

What Does the Forensic Grade Label Really Mean?

On February 2, 2016, ISO 18385:2016 was published as the first international standard specific to the forensic manufacturing community.  Since the standard was published, companies have begun to self-declare that they comply with the ISO standard.  Some companies have gone a step further and reached out to Certification Bodies to provide an unbiased and independent […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     In a Lost Baby Tooth, Scientists Find Ancient Denisovan DNA (The New York […]

Neanderthal Genes in Modern Humans

Professor Ed Green discusses sequencing of the Neanderthal genome and signs that early humans interbreed with Neanderthals.     TRANSCRIPT: My name is Ed Green and I am an Assistant Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. My research program is around genome sciences. We study all kinds of interesting evolutionary […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     The Unclaimed Dead (The Intercept – 7/1/2017)   The Race to Revive Woolly […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     DNA Discovery Reveals Genetic History of Ancient Egyptians (CNN – 6/23/2017)   The […]

Rapid DNA Act of 2017: What is It?

On May 16, 2017, the U.S House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed the Rapid DNA Act of 2017 (H.R.510 and S.139, respectively). The bill was sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) and enjoyed bipartisan support, ending up with seven Republican and five Democratic cosponsors in the Senate, and […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Texas to Implement Rape Kit Reform Law – Including Tracking of Tests (Forensic […]

What Can be Learned from Non-Coding DNA?

Past ISHI Speaker, Gregory Wray, discusses what we knew about non-coding, “junk” DNA in 2014. TRANSCRIPT: My name is Greg Wray. I’m a professor at Duke University, and for many years I’ve been studying the human genome, and I’m particularly interested in the function of non-coding DNA and the regulatory roles that it plays. I’ve […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Falklands War: Experts Bid to Identify Argentine Dead (RocketNews – 6/1/2017)   Utah’s […]

Michael Capuzzo and the Vidocq Society

Michael Capuzzo will give the keynote address at this year’s International Symposium on Human Identification.  Capuzzo is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, The Murder Room, the story of forensic psychologist and consulting detective Richard Walter, “the living Sherlock Holmes,” and the Vidocq Society of Philadelphia. The Murder Room was nominated […]

The Computer Wore High Heels

We’ve all heard of Rosie the Riveter, but Melinde Lutz-Byrne discusses how she tracked down Alice Hall – one of the top secret Rosies recruited by the Department of Defense during WWII to act as “human computers” to do calculations for a ballistics program. TRANSCRIPT: I’m Melinde Lutz-Byrne. I teach Forensic Geneaology at Boston University. […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     UNT DNA Program Funding Loss ‘Incredibly Crippling’, Say Investigators (Forensic Magazine – 5/19/2017) […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     ‘Missing in New Jersey’ Aims to Connect Loved Ones with the Lost (Forensic […]

An Introduction to Mindfulness

On Sunday, October 1st, ISHI will be offering it’s first workshop focused on mindfulness lead by Amy Jeanguenat. Though the concept of mindfulness has been gaining popularity in recent years, some of you may not yet be familiar with the term, so we’ve asked Amy to define mindfulness and its many benefits.     For […]

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Seattle

Did you know that citizens of Seattle buy more sunglasses per capita than any other city in the United States? Or that you can watch the landscape change from lush green to desert simply by driving to the eastern part of Washington? If you’ve never been to Seattle, coming to ISHI is the perfect time […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     DNA Test for Finding Ancestors Raises Privacy Concerns (NBC Bay Area – 4/28/2017) […]

Discovering King Richard III

Dr. Turi King talks about discovering Richard III in a Leicester carpark as well as the link between surnames and the Y-chromosome.     TRANSCRIPT: My name is Dr. Turi King, and I’m a lecturer in genetics and archaeology at the University of Leicester. I started out in archaeology and anthropology at the University of […]

History of DNA

It’s DNA Day! To celebrate, we’ve put together a history of DNA throughout the years. Keep reading to see how far the field has come!   Written by: Tara Luther, Promega   1983 – Kary Mullis discovers PCR process PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is a quick and easy way to create unlimited copies of DNA from […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Cutting-Edge DNA Science Solves San Diego Cold Case Murder, 25 Years Later (NBC7 […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     State Will Study Whether to Expand DNA Database (WRIC – 4/7/2017)   North […]

Advocating for Justice

Julie Weil describes how she became an advocate for sexual assault victims and the steps we can all take to help bring offenders to justice.       TRANSCRIPT: As a survivor of sexual assault, I realized (after my perpetrator was locked up), I started reading the news again and watching TV and I saw […]

DNA Methylation 101

DNA Methylation is a phrase that has gained in popularity lately, but if you’re like me, maybe you’re wondering what DNA methylation is, and more importantly, how can it be used for forensic applications? If that sounds familiar, than this post is for you, because we’re going to tackle those very questions.   Written by: […]

From Victim to Advocate

Julie Weil tells the horrifying story of how she was kidnapped and raped in front of her children, but through DNA evidence was able to put her attacker behind bars, find closure and begin to advocate for other victims.       TRANSCRIPT: I guess my journey began October 16, 2002. I was actually picking […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Washington Bill Proposes DNA Collection from Dead Convicts, Indecent Exposers (Forensic Magazine – […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     New Research on Rape Kit Processing Sees Improvements (Forensic Magazine – 2/24/2017)   […]

Who Was Detective X?

It was called the Trial of the Century, and it ended on February 13, 1935. On that winter night, the Hunterdon County Courthouse in Flemington, New Jersey, was surrounded by thousands of people awaiting the verdict. When it came, camera operators on the newsreel trucks launched flares that lit up the night sky and illuminated […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Who Was Detective X? (NIST – 2/9/2017)   State Forensics Looking to Streamline […]

What Keeps You Coming Back to ISHI?

Learning about the newest technologies? Networking? Read below to see why our ISHI 27 speakers say they look forward to ISHI, then join the discussion on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages to let us know what keeps you coming back!       “This will be the first time I will be attending the ISHI conference.  […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     East Asia DNA has Changed Little Since the Stone Age, Study Reports (Science […]

A Chance Reunion at ISHI

Written by: Karen Burkhartzmeyer, Promega Corporation   It played out in front of a packed hotel ballroom of some 800 people at last year’s International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) in Minneapolis: the unexpected reunion between the survivor of a brutal serial rapist and the forensic analyst who found the DNA that led to a […]

Take Flight at ISHI 28!

After wrapping up the Exhibit and Poster Session on Wednesday, October 4th, take flight with your fellow ISHI attendees for a night of good food, cocktails, dancing, and mingling amidst 175+ spacecraft and aircraft at the Museum of Flight!   Written by: Tara Luther, Promega Corporation   The Museum of Flight is the largest, independent, not-for-profit air […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     DNA Upon Arrest: Solving Cold Cases or Presuming Guilt? (The Huffington Post – […]

FY 2017 Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI)

The National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), provides funding through a competitive grant program to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions’ approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs). The focus of this […]

New perspectives at ISHI

Those who attend the International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI) know that the annual meeting bringing together the world’s top forensic DNA analysts, law enforcement, and legal and ethical experts offers unique opportunities for new perspectives on old cases. For Phoenix Police Department detectives, the novel approach provided by genetic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick, whom they […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Crime Prediction Software Now Used by Dubai Police Force (Forensic Magazine – 12/30/2016) […]

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

As 2016 winds down, let’s celebrate all that’s happened in the world of ISHI this year! We converged on Minneapolis, Minnesota for the 27th annual International Symposium on Human Identification where we discussed new technologies, mixture interpretation, Next Generation Sequencing, and phenotyping. We also heard David O’Shea present on the amazing story of the Grandmothers of […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Debate Rages Over Quality of Science in Crime Labs (The Columbus Dispatch – […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Thousands of Potentially Wrongful Convictions; Years of Delayed Action (ProPublica – 11/10/2016)   […]

ISO 18385: The Creation of a ‘Forensic Grade’ Standard

Forensic DNA laboratories rely on reagent and plastics manufacturers to supply high-quality products with minimal interference from contaminating DNA.  With the increasing sensitivity of short tandem repeat (STR) amplification systems, levels of DNA that were previously undetected may now generate partial profiles.  To address the concern of laboratories worldwide regarding the potential of low-level DNA […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Where Traditional DNA Testing Fails, Algorithms Take Over (ProPublica – 11/4/2016)   Forensic […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     The Scent of Death (Forensic Magazine – 10/28/2016)   DNA Analysis Raises New […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Kuwait to Change Law Forcing All Citizens to Provide DNA Samples (New Scientist […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Shipwreck CSI: Identifying the Victims of a Migrant Tragedy (Forensic Magazine – 10/14/2016) […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     ISHI Keynote: Argentina’s Dirty War Gave DNA Chance to Set History Straight (Forensic […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     Ceremony Honors Fallen Service Members Identified Through Forensics (Delaware State News – 9/16/2016) […]

This Week in Forensic Science

No one has hours to scour the papers to keep up with the latest news, so we’ve curated the top news stories in the field of Forensic Science for this week. Here’s what you need to know to get out the door!     GBI Receives Thousands of Untested Rape Kits (WTVM – 9/2/2016)   ‘Pink Panther’ […]

Every Cell Has A Story To Tell™

Crime scene investigation requires collection and analysis of biological evidence for DNA genotyping. Blood, sperm, and epithelial evidence left behind by perpetrators can help investigators acquire a genetic profile of the person who committed the crime.   Submitted by: Menarini Silicon Biosystems   A problem occurs when a single evidence sample consists of biological fluids […]

Under the Microscope – Ted Hunt

The ISHI27 agenda is already filling up with some great talks from amazing speakers! While the forensic community is a tight-knit group, we can always get a little closer, right? With that in mind, we asked our speakers some questions to get to know them a little better outside of their work. We’ve been posting […]

NIST 3D Ballistics Research Database

It’s a staple of the TV-crime drama: a ballistics expert tries to match two bullets using a microscope with a split-screen display. One bullet was recovered from the victim’s body and the other was test-fired from a suspect’s gun. If the striations on the bullets line up—cue the sound of a cell door slamming shut—the […]

The Reality of DNA Phenotyping

It is easy to get excited or frightened about the predictive powers of DNA phenotyping, depending on your perspective. Knowing what genes led to higher intelligence and athletic ability was the first step towards the designer babies of GATTACA. Is this knowledge worth having given the potential for misuse? Going to such extremes with genetic selection makes for […]

Identifying the Disappeared of Guatemala

Fredy Peccerelli of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation shares how he became involved with identifying the Disappeared of Guatemala and the process of using DNA to empower the victims’ families.     TRANSCRIPT: My name is Fredy Peccerelli. I’m the Executive Director of the Guatemala Forensic Anthropology Foundation. We’re an organization that focuses on identifying the […]

Catching a Child Abuser in 5 Days

Among all crimes committed, crimes against children are especially heinous, and it is vitally important that these offenders are removed from the streets as soon as possible to prevent them from committing a second crime. The case that follows is one that was solved in just five days by the Anne Arundel County Crime Lab […]

Phenotyping – What Can and Should We Predict?

David Ballard of King’s College London describes what phenotyping can accurately predict, the ethical and legal issues surrounding the topic, and the role it should play in solving crime.       TRANSCRIPT: I’m David Ballard. I’m a Research Associate in Forensic Genetics at King’s College London. We’re a group that does both casework, research, […]

Does Bias Exist in Forensic Science?

A basic principle of psychology says that a person’s desires and expectations will influence how they perceive and interpret what they see. Is neutrality then a myth? Will a person always be influenced by what they have observed or are told? More importantly, will this information impact the conclusion they reach? In many aspects of […]

More Sensitivity Requires More Samples

One of the greatest challenges of DNA has been to avoid contamination, specifically trying to avoid the DNA analyst or the person collecting the evidence from leaving their own DNA on a sample. There are many opportunities for this type of contamination to occur, whether it happens when the evidence is first collected or during […]

Returning the Stolen

Argentina is probably not the first place that comes to mind when you think of dictatorships, yet the “Dirty War” of the late 1970s killed 10,000–30,000 citizens in an act of political repression by the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance. Among this figure includes some 13,000 people who disappeared overnight, sent to a network of hundreds of […]

Catching a Serial Killer

“Is your life just like CSI?” That is the prevailing question I get asked when someone learns of my occupation as Deputy Sheriff Criminalist for the Contra Costa County (CA) Office of the Sheriff. Alas, my life is not quite so glamorous. It actually often entails entering formulas into an excel spreadsheet while being placed […]

10 Validation Tips You Need to Know

Validations can be intimidating for any lab, so to make your life easier, we asked Promega’s Technical Support and Validation Teams to share tips on how to make the process go smoother.       Prepare your lab. Make sure all of your all of your instrumentation (CEs, Thermal Cyclers, 7500s, Centrifuges) and tools (Pipettes, Heat […]

Improving DNA Phenotyping for Forensics

Krystal Breslin describes the work that she’s doing at IUPUI to discover which SNPs determine eye, skin, and hair color in the hopes of making mug shots available to the police where eye witness testimony is not available.   TRANSCRIPT: My name is Krystal Breslin. I work at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, or IUPUI […]

Massively Parallel Sequencing for Forensic DNA Analysis

Massively parallel sequencing (MPS), also called next generation sequencing (NGS), has the potential to alleviate some of the biggest challenges facing forensic laboratories, namely degraded DNA and samples containing DNA from multiple contributors. Unlike capillary electrophoresis, MPS genotyping methods do not require fluorescently-labeled oligonucleotides to distinguish amplification products of similar size. Furthermore, it is not […]

From Death Row to Exoneration Thanks to DNA

Kirk Bloodsworth, the first person in the United States to be freed by post-conviction DNA testing, recounts his story of how he was convicted of a brutal murder, and subsequently freed by DNA evidence. TRANSCRIPT: My name is Kirk Noble Bloodsworth, honorably discharged Marine from Cambridge, Maryland. I’m also the first person in the United […]

WVU Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Course

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification course for forensic professionals is now available at West Virginia University to help understaffed crime laboratories reduce errors and increase efficiency.   Written by: Martina Bison-Huckaby, Director of the Center for Executive Education at West Virginia University   For the first time, the West Virginia University Center for Executive Education (CEE), […]

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

As 2015 winds down, let’s celebrate all that’s happened in the world of ISHI this year! We converged on Grapevine, Texas for the 26th annual International Symposium on Human Identification where we discussed new technologies, mixture interpretation, Next Generation Sequencing, and the pending new CODIS loci changes. We also heard the amazing story of Kirk […]

ISO 18385: The Creation of a ‘Forensic Grade’ Standard

Forensic DNA laboratories rely on reagent and plastics manufacturers to supply high-quality products with minimal interference from contaminating DNA.  With the increasing sensitivity of short tandem repeat (STR) amplification systems, levels of DNA that were previously undetected may now generate partial profiles.  To address the concern of laboratories worldwide regarding the potential of low-level DNA […]

An Interview with Michael Baird

Michael Baird talks about the first DNA court cases. TRANSCRIPT: Well 25 years ago, it was a lot different than it is today. There were fewer companies that were doing DNA testing. The company I was with then (Lifecodes Corporation) was one of the major commercial companies doing forensic testing as well as paternity. When […]

7 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

According to Business Insider, more than 30,000 organizations throughout the globe use LinkedIn to recruit new hires. If you’re looking for a new job and haven’t optimized your LinkedIn profile, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity! Read on for 7 ways you can upgrade your LinkedIn profile to become more attractive to hiring managers.   Written […]

An Interview with Tim Palmbach

Professor Tim Palmbach of The University of New Haven describes a project he started to combat human trafficking using DNA.   TRANSCRIPT: My name’s Professor Tim Palmbach, and I’m a professor at the University of New Haven. Before that, I was the crime lab director at the State of Connecticut. About two years ago, I […]

ISHI 26 Closing Video

Thank you all for making the 26th International Symposium on Human Identification a success! We hope to see you next September in Minneapolis, but for now, let’s relive all the great moments from this year!   Thank you all for making the 26th International Symposium on Human Identification a success! We hope to see you […]

The Importance of Leadership Training in the Forensic Field

Laboratory management is a responsibility for which many forensic professionals are not fully prepared. Management and leadership education that is targeted specifically to forensic professionals is crucial to better equip forensic managers to succeed in the complex environment of a crime laboratory.   Written by: Martina Bison‐Huckaby, Director of the Center for Executive Education at […]

The Living Disappeared

Submitted by: Alexa Barrett Last summer, an unprecedented number of unaccompanied children were crossing the U.S./Mexican border. The number of children crossing had grown to 54,000 in 2014, a drastic jump from the 25,000 that had crossed the year before. As detention centers overflowed, researchers, politicians, and humanitarians, began searching for ways to reunite children […]

Forensic Science Education and the Next Digital Decade

By Donna Wielbo, University of Florida’s Director of Online Forensic Science Programs   Welcome to the next digital decade of forensic science education. Everywhere you turn, transformative trends are shifting in this field of study. These fundamental forces are altering the way forensic science professionals, students, faculty, curriculum, and technologies interact. Major Forces Shaping Forensic […]

An Interview with Ron Reinstein

Ron Reinstein discusses changes that have been made to improve forensic science and to learn from past mistakes. TRANSCRIPT: I’m Ron Reinstein. I am a retired Superior Court Judge after 22 years in Arizona. I un-retired the next day to become the Judicial Consultant to the Arizona Supreme Court. I also chair the Arizona Forensic […]

Forensic science in search of the ‘disappeared’

By Fredy Peccerelli Guatemala’s method of uncovering human rights violations can help other post-conflict areas, says Fredy Peccerelli.   Copyright: Lianne Milton/Panos During Guatemala’s internal armed conflict (1960-1996) almost 200,000 people are thought to have been killed or ‘disappeared’ at the hands of repressive and violent regimes. Those lives matter. Their families’ demands are clear: […]

An Interview with Susan Mustafa

Susan Mustafa, true crime author, describes how DNA testing in Louisiana was impacted by serial killings and her process for writing.   TRANSCRIPT: My name is Susan D Mustafa. I’m a true crime author. I’m the co-author of The Most Dangerous Animal of All, Searching for my Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer with Gary […]

Who Attends ISHI?

We’ve received a lot of questions over the years on whether or not attending the International Symposium on Human Identification is appropriate for someone in a certain career field. In most cases, if you have an interest in or work with DNA typing, then the answer is yes, definitely! Just in case you need a […]

And the winner is…

Photo Credit: Tiffany Von Arnim   We asked which city YOU would like to see host ISHI in upcoming years, and over the course of 60 days, we received 317 votes! There were five fantastic cities to choose from: Charlotte, Orlando, Phoenix, Seattle, and Atlanta, but your choice was clear. With 102 votes (32%), our […]