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!
NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with Dr. Barbara Ziv, the forensic psychiatrist who testified at the retrial of Bill Cosby, about the focus that the prosecution put on educating the jury about common misconceptions around rape.
Investigators who used a genealogical website to find the ex-policeman they believe is a shadowy serial killer and rapist who terrified California decades ago call the technique ground-breaking.But others say it raises troubling legal and privacy concerns for the millions of people who submit their DNA to such sites to discover their heritage.
Television fantasy messed up crime scene forensic science expectations so much there is even a term for it: the “CSI Effect.”
Named for the 15-season-long CBS series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which hatched various spin-off shows, CSI is one of a number of crime dramas that, Central Illinois experts say, ridiculously inflate forensic capabilities and the speed of results.
Crime sprees on the scale of the Golden State Killer’s are more difficult to pull off nowadays, some experts say: The same technology that helps solve such cold cases can thwart a modern-day criminal before he accumulates enough victims to earn a nickname
Fingerprints have provided key evidence in countless cases of serious crime. But there are still some situations in which it can be difficult or impossible to recover fingerprints and this can cause a headache for forensic investigators. In seeking a solution to this problem, researchers like myself have started to realise that a fingerprint can be used for a lot more than just its unique ridge pattern.
Anthropologists in Guatemala are using forensics to try and determine what happened during the country’s 36-year Civil War. Families have been looking for loved ones “disappeared” from the war for decades.
The vast majority of participants in worldwide genomics research are of European descent. This disparity could potentially leave out minorities from benefitting from the windfall of precision medicine. That’s about to change with the “All of Us” initiative, an ambitious health research endeavor by the National Institutes of Health that launches in May. Originally created in 2015 under President Obama as the Precision Medicine Initiative, the project aims to collect data from at least 1 million people of all ages, races, sexual identities, income and education levels
CT angiography is a useful adjunct to autopsy that is likely to increase the quality of post-mortem diagnosis, according to a study appearing online in the journal Radiology. Researchers said the findings could have important implications for criminal investigations and hospital quality control efforts.
Bloodsworth took classes at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco, and he now has a line of handcrafted pendants, bracelets and earrings called Bloods Stones.And among his designs is a sterling silver “exoneration ring,” one that he’s had cast, engraved and presented to 85 former inmates who were found to have been wrongly convicted. Some of the recipients were once, like Bloodsworth, on Death Row.
A new technology can take any DNA sample from a crime scene – from a drop of blood to bone tissue – and read tens of thousands of genetic variants to predict a facial image. It’s called Snapshot.Through a computer-based 3D algorithm, Snapshot can predict ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling and face shape.
Investigators searching for the Zodiac Killer have submitted evidence to a private DNA lab in the hopes of obtaining a genetic profile of one of California’s most elusive criminals — then tracking him down using the same kind of family-tree tracing recently used in the East Area Rapist case.
Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced that an audit of the SAFE kit (Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence) backlog showed that the Oregon State Police “has taken actions consistent with statutory requirements and national best practices to address the SAFE Kit backlog.”In a May 2 press release Richardson also said that the audit also found that “OSP officials estimate they will largely eliminate the backlog by the end of 2018.”
This is the world of “DNA phenotyping” – reconstructing physical features from genetic data. Research studies and companies like 23andMesometimes share genetic data that has been “anonymised” by removing names. But can we ensure its privacy if we can predict the face of its owner?
Before investigators in California say they solved a decades-old case of rape and murder using a genealogy website, the only other known case to use that method to identify a serial killer involved a gruesome series of murders in New Hampshire in which the bodies of a woman and three young girls were stuffed into metal drums and buried in a state park.
The pioneering approach used in that case would become the inspiration for the detective who finally found the so-called Golden State Killer.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS? SUBSCRIBE TO THE ISHI BLOG BELOW!