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


How Science May Just End Up Killing Crime (Stuff – 8/25/2018)

  • A lot has changed since Harvey and Jeannette Crewe were shot dead in their Waikato home 48 years ago. We look at the present and future of forensic science.


Dinosaur DNA Clues Unpicked by Researchers at University of Kent (BBC News – 8/26/2018)

  • Researchers at the University of Kent say their work uncovers the genetic secret behind why dinosaurs came in such a variety of shapes and sizes.


Professor Dame Sue Black: Forensic Expert Haunted by Unsolved Cases (The Herald – 8/26/2018)

  • Professor Dame Sue Black has helped identify victims and perpetrators of crime in war zones like Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Iraq, and helped crack numerous criminal cases across the UK.

    But asked if some cases still haunt her and wake her in the small hours, she recalled instances where families remain unable to lay their loved ones to rest.



DNA ‘Shedders’ Test Shows Men, Thumbs Leave More Traces (Forensic Magazine – 8/27/2018)

Extinct Cave Bear DNA Found in Living Bears (National Geographic – 8/27/2018)

  • No cave bear has awoken from this final hibernation, but the animals’ DNA lives on: A new study confirms that about 0.9 to 2.4 percent of living brown bears’ DNA traces back to the extinct species.



Suspect in 1998 Murder of Dutch Boy Detained in Spain After Mass DNA Testing (Stuff – 8/28/2018)

  • In October 2017, authorities in the Netherlands launched a massive DNA investigation ahead of the 20th anniversary of Verstappen’s death, seeking DNA samples from more than 20,000 men, including Brech, that they would compare to DNA left behind at the crime scene.


New Investigative Approach Helps Solve Minnesota Cold Cases Through DNA ‘Family Tree’ (ABC 5 – 8/28/2018)

  • The Minnesota BCA, in unsolved cold cases, is using a relatively new DNA technology to help them track down elusive criminals in the state’s felony DNA database.

    BCA Superintendent, Drew Evans, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the so-called “Familial DNA” technology has only been used in four cases so far in Minnesota because it is used as a last resort in unsolved cases.



New Law to Make California First State to End Bail (Forensic Magazine – 8/29/2018)

  • California will become the first state to eliminate bail for suspects awaiting trial and replace it with a still murky risk-assessment system under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.



Can We Trust Forensic Science? (Stuff – 8/29/2018)

  • Osborne has just returned from 18 months doing post-doctoral research at the University of California, investigating how human fallibility can bias forensic results. All that stuff on CSI about forensics incontrovertibly fingering the killer – reality isn’t quite as clean-cut.



  • Barbara Rae-Venter’s genealogical sleuthing acumen has inspired others to help law enforcement with unsolved cases, as well as an ethics and privacy debate.



Inside the Groundbreaking Science Used to Identify 9/11 Remains (The New York Post – 8/29/2018)

  • Seventeen years later, what started out as an ad hoc team of four scientists dodging falling debris has become “the largest forensic investigation in the history of the United States” — involving a dedicated team of 10 people working tirelessly to identify victims’ remains using DNA, according to Desire, now the assistant director for forensic biology at OCME.



Nestle Wants Your DNA (Bloomberg – 8/29/2018)

  • Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, has joined the trend for personalized nutrition with a blend of artificial intelligence, DNA testing and the modern obsession with Instagramming food. The program, begun in aging Japan, could provide the Swiss company with a wealth of data about customers’ wellness and diet as it pivots toward consumers who are seeking to improve their health and longevity.



Helping Solve the Wildest Crimes (Washington Post – 8/30/2018)

  • Crime against wildlife is a multibillion-dollar global enterprise that experts say is only increasing as poaching and trafficking networks grow more sophisticated and move into dark corners of the Internet. When authorities interrupt that enterprise, this lab is often a critical stop in their investigations. Its scientists run DNA tests, examine bullets, identify poisons and compare remains to some 35,000 specimens in the lab’s reference collection — a ghoulish panoply of pelts, bones, feathers and claws.