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!




Icelandic DNA Jigsaw-Puzzle Brings New Knowledge About Neanderthals (ScienceDaily – 4/23/2020)

  • An international team of researchers has put together a new image of Neanderthals based on the genes Neanderthals left in the DNA of modern humans when they had children with them about 50,000 years ago. The researchers found the new information by trawling the genomes of more than 27,000 Icelanders. Among other things, they discovered that Neanderthal children had older mothers and younger fathers than the Homo-Sapien children in Africa did at the time.



Bold Project Hopes to DNA Barcode Every Species in Costa Rica (Mongabay – 4/27/2020)

  • Janzen and Hallwachs are now in the midst of kicking off something no one has gotten remotely close to since Carl Linnaeus began the systematic describing of species in the mid-1700s. In a project they call BioAlfa, they will attempt to identify every single species in a nation. And not a temperate, low-biodiversity nation, but a life-teeming, bio-rich, jungle country: Costa Rica.


Researchers Detect Land Animals Using DNA in Nearby Water Bodies (The Scientist – 4/27/2020)

  • Monitoring the comings and goings of aquatic life with traces of DNA in water has become an established biomonitoring technique, but scientists are now using environmental DNA to assess terrestrial animals.

ISP Forensic Scientists Help with COVID-19 Testing (KFVS12 – 4/28/2020)

    • Ten scientists and one DNA research coordinator with ISP Division of Forensic Services (DFS) are lending their expertise to help the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) with COVID-19 testing.

      The volunteer team members are preparing samples, conducting tests and assisting IDPH with related paperwork.



Anthropologist Develops Method to Age, Sex Ancient Fingerprints (Forensic – 4/29/2020)

  • Analyzing ancient fingerprints’ ridge breadth and density, anthropologist Kent Fowler and colleagues have discovered the age and sex of those who left marks on ancient pottery, revealing never-before-understood clues as to how labor was divided between people 4,700 years ago.