This Week in Forensic Science – ISHI News

Apr 10 2020

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 is Down During COVID-19 Pandemic, But Experts are Cautious (Forensic – 4/2/2020)

  • Serious felonies dropped 17 percent in New York City from March 16 to March 22 compared to last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chicago homicides dropped 29 percent the week of March 21, the day an Illinois stay-at-home order went into effect. And the Marshall Project, an online nonprofit that covers criminal justice news, reports that cities such as Detroit, Los Angeles and San Francisco have seen significant drops in crime reports.



Researchers Obtain Oldest-Ever Human DNA from Ancient Tooth (ZME Science – 4/2/2020)

  • Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have successfully isolated the oldest human genetic material to date, from an 800,000-year-old human fossil.


University Forensic Science Center Enters Partnership for Rapid DNA Instrument (Forensic – 4/3/2020)

  • The Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC) has entered into a collaborative partnership with the ANDE Corporation, which is placing a Rapid DNA instrument at the MUFSC for DNA analysts to evaluate for future validation and testing.

The “Why” of the Fly “Y”: Reflections on “Junk” DNA (Evolution News – 4/3/2020)

    • In April 1980, almost exactly forty years ago, the journal Nature published a pair of highly influential articles on the topic of what has become known as “junk” or “selfish” DNA. Together they posited an easy-to-grasp way to conceive of “excess” nucleotides along chromosomes — repetitive sequences in general and transposable elements in particular. Is this thinking still true based on what we know today?



Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab Sanitizing Face Masks (KMBC News – 4/3/2020)

  • Two of the sanitizing cabinets are at Johnson County fire departments and one is at Johnson County Med-Act. Another larger one is being built on site at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office crime lab.



New Forensic Technology Changing the Game (CBS 46 – 4/7/2020)

  • The M-Vac System is cracking cold cases across the country. It’s a DNA collector that can vacuum up 200 times the amount of DNA traditional swabbing can. CSI Atlanta recently introduced the technology to local law enforcement.



Why Does COVID-19 Make Some People So Sick? Ask Their DNA (WIRED – 4/7/2020)

  • Consumer genomics company 23andMe wants to mine its database of millions of customers for clues to why the virus hits some people harder than others.



UK’s Largest Forensic Capability Network Officially Launches (Forensic – 4/8/2020)

  • FCN aims to tackle the biggest forensics challenges facing policing and criminal justice. These include a fragmented approach to services, lack of accreditation, skills shortages and instability in the commercial marketplace. The network also supports the government’s priorities of cutting crime, cracking county lines gangs and increasing public trust.



Indiana State Police Name 2019 Forensic Scientist of the Year (Forensic – 4/8/2020)

  • The Indiana State Police Forensic Scientist of the Year Award is presented annually to a Forensic Scientist within the Laboratory Division deemed to have consistently provided a superior quality forensic analysis service in a highly professional, proficient, and unbiased manner for the Indiana Criminal Justice Community.

    The recipient of the 2019 Indiana State Police Forensic Scientist of the Year is Stacey R. Hartman, whose accomplishments during that year are worthy of such recognition and have earned her this award.



Denim, as a Crime Solving Tool, Has Holes (New York Times – 4/8/2020)

  • A forensic technique that involves matching patterns on bluejeans is highly inaccurate, a new study suggests.



Clackamas Co. Sheriff’s Office Forensics Team Sews Masks for First Responders (KATU 2 – 4/9/2020)

  • During a normal shift, they study genetic evidence from crime scenes. But now, the forensics team at the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office has a new mission – making masks.