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!




Forensic Science: How Pollen is a Silent Witness to Solving Murders (BBC News – 1/26/2020)

  • She is one of the world’s leading forensic ecologists who has helped gather evidence for some of the highest-profile murder cases of recent years. But Prof Patricia Wiltshire’s interest in the botanical world began during her childhood in Wales.



Belfast’s Egyptian Mummy ‘May Have Died in Violent Knife Attack’ (BBC News – 1/27/2020)

  • A team of experts appear to have solved a mystery that has confounded academics – and the public – for decades.

    How did the Egyptian mummy on display in the Ulster Museum die?


NIST Tests Forensic Methods for Getting Data From Damaged Mobile Phones (NIST – 1/28/2020)

  • Criminals sometimes damage their mobile phones in an attempt to destroy evidence. They might smash, shoot, submerge or cook their phones, but forensics experts can often retrieve the evidence anyway. Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have tested how well these forensic methods work.


DNA From Newborn Bloodspot Biobank Helped Crack 2007 Infant Death Cold Case (CBS 13 Sacramento – 1/28/2020)

  • At a press conference on Monday, investigators said that this was a first-of-its-kind DNA investigation but they gave very few details.

    CBS 13 has now confirmed that newborn DNA samples, which are stored in a biobank in Richmond, played a key role in this investigation.

DNA Evidence Exonerates New York City Man for 1985 Sexual Assault (ABC News – 1/28/2020)

  • Rafael Ruiz was convicted in 1985 for sexually assaulting a woman in East Harlem.

    Now, at the age of 60, Ruiz had his felony conviction wiped off his criminal record after newly tested DNA from the victim’s sex assault kit found by the Innocence Project and the Manhattan District Attorney Office’s Conviction Integrity Program excluded him from the case.


Africans Carry Surprising Amount of Neanderthal DNA (Science Magazine – 1/30/2020)

  • A new study reveals an unexpectedly large amount of Neanderthal ancestry in modern populations across Africa. It suggests much of that DNA came from Europeans migrating back into Africa over the past 20,000 years.