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!




Etched in DNA: Decoding the Secrets of the Past (The Christian Science Monitor – 12/30/2019)

  • What does it mean to be human? Paleoanthropologists have long wrestled with this question. Ancient DNA analysis has enabled them to probe new depths of our ancestral past.



Why China is the Brave New World of Editing Human DNA (The Washington Post – 12/30/2019)

  • China has taken the lead in testing uses of Crispr, a tool newly available to researchers enabling them to alter DNA codes simply and inexpensively. Chinese scientists were the first to test Crispr in monkey embryos, in non-viable human embryos, in adult humans, and now in creating designer babies. Now China is confronting accusations that its regulatory system is overlooking the ethical considerations and medical risks.


Rapid DNA Awaits Scientific Endorsement for Use in Sexual Assault Investigations (Biometric Update – 12/30/2019)

  • According to Vincent Figarelli, who runs the crime lab at the Arizona Department of Public Safety, “the issue with sex assault is that pretty much every case is a mixture,” as there is no peer-reviewed scientific study to confirm the accuracy of the tool on sexual assault kits.


Trump Signs Bill to Clear Backlog of Untested DNA Evidence (The Epoch Times – 12/31/2019)

  • The law gives $151 million to the Department of Justice for each of Fiscal Years 2019-2024 for the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program; $12.5 million for DNA training and education programs; and $30 million for the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Grant Program.


He Escaped from Jail After Allegedly Killing His Wife a Century Ago. Now His Headless Torso has Been Identified Through DNA. (The Washington Post – 1/2/2020)

  • The DNA Doe Project has solved an Idaho mystery over 100 years in the making, which is one of the oldest cases solved using autosomal DNA.