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!


This Week in Forensic Science


The Rape Kit Backlog Shows Exactly How We Regard Women in This Country (Huffington Post – 4/13/2018)

  • Mariska Hargitay’s new documentary “I Am Evidence” humanizes the rape kit crisis.


This Week in Science History: The Dark Lady of DNA Dies (Cosmos Magazine – 4/16/2018)

  • Rosalind Franklin died terribly young, denying her the Nobel her colleagues felt she deserved.


‘Buck Skin Girl’ Case Break Is Success of New DNA Doe Project (Forensic Magazine – 4/16/2018)

  • Starting late the night of March 28, Margaret Press and Colleen Fitzpatrick took the highly-degraded incomplete DNA profile, and started combing a public genealogical database. Within a short time, they had a staggering hit: a first cousin once removed.


DA Fights Judge’s Order to Hand Over Info on How New DNA Test Works (The San Diego Tribune – 4/16/2018)

  • Like any defense lawyer, Matthew Speredelozzi wants to know how San Diego prosecutors concluded that his client’s DNA was found on a blood-stained pair of gloves not far from a murder scene.

    But his efforts to do so have touched off a legal skirmish between the defense lawyer, the San Diego Police crime lab, the District Attorney’s Office and a private company that developed a new DNA analysis technique that is on the forefront of forensic science.



Scientists Discover Dozens of New Genes for Hair Colour  (The Guardian – 4/16/2018)

  • Forensic scientists a step closer to predicting a suspect’s hair colour from crime scene DNA alone


Woolly Mammoths Could be Brought Bake to Life as Scientists Begin Cloning DNA to Resurrect the Extinct Species (Mirror – 4/17/2018)

  • Harvard scientists are planning to modify elephant cells with frozen mammoth DNA


Indiana Does DNA Tests on 9,375 Accused Felons (WNDU 16 – 4/17/2018)

  • Indiana upped its crime fighting game in the first quarter of 2018. While the state has long done D.N.A. tests on convicted felons, this year it added accused felons to the list.

    During the first three months of this year, in jails all across the state, it happened 9,375 times, one cotton swab at a time: Someone arrested for a felony crime had a D.N.A. sample taken


Five Years On, Will MIX13 DNA Study Be ‘Bombshell’ Paper? (Forensic Magazine – 4/19/2018)

  • The results showed that, as DNA sensitivity has grown by leaps and bounds, interpretation of those tiny clues has not kept pace. But those results were reached five years ago—and the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. NIST says they have pushed out the results to other experts at major forensic conferences in the ensuing years—and now plan to submit a full paper to a major journal by the end of this month.

    Critics say that justice has been deferred by the years-long delay, potentially landing untold numbers of people in prison based off faulty DNA mixture interpretation methods. Some experts said they were unaware of the potentially fortune-reversing findings—and others said the results were turned aside by judges because there was no official publication of the findings.


Forensic Science: The Tip of the Iceberg? (The Guardian – 4/19/2018)

  • Ruth Morgan, Professor of Crime and Forensic Science at UCL says forensic science is nowhere near as robust and reliable as many people think.


The Science That Could Revolutionise Time Measurements in Forensic Investigations (The Conversation – 4/19/2018)

  • Over the last few years, a series of new findings have made great contributions to the area of “temporal forensics”, some of which could vastly improve our understanding of what happens to our bodies after we die.


What Does a Forensic Anthropologist Do? ( – 4/19/2018)

  • Dr Soren Blau, Senior Forensic Anthropologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, explains what it’s like to study human remains in a forensic setting. Hint, it’s a lot less glamorous than the way it’s portrayed in the television series Bones.


Framed for Murder By His Own DNA (WIRED – 4/19/2018)

  • Lukis Anderson was charged for the murder of Raveesh Kumra after his DNA was found on Kumra’s fingernails, but he was in the hospital at the time of the murder, so how did his DNA get there?


Italy and Its Mediterranean Neighbours Launch Plan to Identify Migrants Lost at Sea (The Local it – 4/19/2018)

  • Four European Mediterranean countries are launching an initiative in June to identify thousands of missing migrants who died or went missing during the perilous sea crossing to the continent.