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!




St. George Police Officer Recognized for ‘Amazing’ Detective Work in Solving Rape Case (St. George News – 2/8/2019)

  • A St. George Police officer is among several city employees to have received recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty.

    During a public meeting at City Hall Thursday evening, St. George Police Detective Josh Wilson was honored with the city’s “Brighter Side” award for his work solving a case of brutal sexual assault perpetrated against a woman last spring.


Bode, Biggest Private Forensic DNA Lab, Launches Genealogy Service (Forensic Magazine – 2/11/2019)

  • The company began genealogy testing in the last few months of 2018, with certified and experienced genealogists. Already nine cases are in the pipeline—and the likely perpetrator of a 20-year-old homicide has been identified, pending confirmation.


Dog DNA Testing Takes Off, and Generates Debate (CNN – 2/11/2019)

  • Genetic testing for dogs has surged in recent years, raising questions about standards, interpretation and limitations.


Stanford Sociologists Explore Who Does, and Doesn’t, Want a DNA Ancestry Test (Stanford – 2/11/2019)

  • Stanford sociologists found that racial identity, when ancestors immigrated and knowledge of family history influence people’s decision to take a DNA test.



More Than 26 Million People Have Added Their DNA to Four Leading Ancestry Databases: Report (Mashable – 2/13/2019)

  • Scientists at Kew Gardens are leading the fight against the illegal logging industry by helping to create wood DNA tests.

    The Royal Botanic Gardens, which has one of the largest collections of wood samples in the world, has teamed up with the Forest Stewardship Council and US Forest Service for the project.


Lawrence Livermore Publishes Forensic Hair Proteomics Study (Forensic Magazine – 2/13/2019)


Beyond CSI: How Big Data is Reshaping the World of Forensics (Fast Company – 2/13/2019)

  • In recent years, forensics scientists, statisticians, and engineers have been working to put crime scene forensics on a stronger footing, with some classic techniques falling out of favor.


Hand Database Could be Used to Catch Child Abusers, Says Leading Forensics Expert (Telegraph – 2/13/2019)


DNA Leads to Man’s Arrest for 1993 Murder in Minneapolis: Police (ABC News – 2/13/2019)

  • A man linked to a cold case through DNA and genetic genealogy is now in custody, 26 years after allegedly killing a Minneapolis woman, according to local police.


FBI Hopes Samuel Little’s Drawings Will Help Identify His Murder Victims (New York Times – 2/13/2019)

  • The F.B.I. says Samuel Little, now 78 and serving consecutive life sentences for three murders in Los Angeles in the 1980s, has confessed to 93 murders across the country. He targeted marginalized women, including prostitutes and addicts, whose deaths sometimes went uninvestigated, the agency said.

    Although investigators believe his confessions, they have so far matched only half to unsolved murders. He says he did not know many of his victims’ names — only in some cases did he know a first name or nickname — which has made identification difficult. The authorities hope that the drawings they released Tuesday, which Mr. Little made while he was in custody, will help match names to his accounts.


Forensic Scents Could Prove Rape Cases (Forensic Magazine – 2/13/2019)


Ribosomal DNA Can Predict an Animal’s Age (The Scientist – 2/14/2019)

  • A clock constructed of rDNA methylation sites can estimate both chronological and biological age across species.


Judge Rules for Testing DNA of a Fertility Doctor Suspected of Fathering Up to 200 Children (CNN – 2/14/2019)

  • A fertility doctor suspected to have fathered scores of people by secretly swapping donors’ sperm for his own will have his DNA tested, after a Dutch court supported a legal challenge by 22 of his potential children.


    The group were all conceived with the help of fertility doctor Jan Karbaat, who died in 2017 at the age of 89 and had long been suspected of using his own sperm to impregnate clients — a charge he denied.