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


Colombian National Police and ICE Open Forensic Laboratory Dedicated to Child Exploitation Investigations (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – 1/26/2018)

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Colombian National Police (CNP) officially opened the Yuliana Andrea Samboni Child Exploitation/Cyber Forensics Laboratory in a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by senior U.S. and Colombian officials.


These Advances in DNA Research Could Change Crime-Fighting Forever (New York Post – 1/27/2018)

  • Here are four other cutting-edge technologies being used and developed by companies nationwide to nab perps through a microscope.


Bone Experts Offer How-To Video for Forensic Professionals (Phys Org – 1/29/2018)

  • Advances in recent years allow forensic practitioners to use bone mineral density to extract more information from human remains – but many forensic experts are unfamiliar with the techniques and technology. Now forensic researchers from North Carolina State University have published a step-by-step methodology in the video journal JOVE, providing forensic professionals with a guide that can help them extract as much information as possible from this emerging tool.


How European are You? Gene Research Suggests 60% of DNA in a ‘Typical’ Brit Come from Continental and Irish Ancestry (Daily Mail – 1/29/2018)

  • A new study by AncestryDNA reveals that Britons, on average, glean 60 per cent of their ancestry from Europe.

    While the average UK residents’ DNA is 60.56% European and 36.3 per cent Anglo-Saxon, breakdowns of the data reveal variations within the UK and regions of England.

    For example, Scotland stands out as the most ‘European’ region, with the average Scottish resident’s DNA being 71.89 per cent European and 26.24 per cent Anglo-Saxon.



Scientists Pave Way for At-Home Genome Mapping with Portable DNA Sequencer (NBC News – 1/29/2018)

  • Scientists have assembled the most complete human genome to be mapped with a single technology using a new pocket-size portable DNA sequencer, which they say could one day make genome mapping quick and simple enough to do at home.



Thousands of Criminal Cases Reviewed After DNA Rules Changed (The Orange County Register – 1/29/2018)

  • A national science group in 2010 changed the way DNA mixtures are interpreted, leading the Orange County Crime Lab to develop its own version of the new standards. District Tony Rackauckas then ordered the review, which resulted in reduced charges in just two serious crimes, prosecutors said. Dozens more were found to include evidence in which the defense might have benefited under the new DNA standards.


Is “Junk DNA” What Makes Humans Unique? (Scientific American – 1/30/2018)

  • The parts of our DNA that contain instructions for making proteins—the building blocks of our bodies—differ by less than 1 percent, but protein-coding genes are only a small part of our genomes. Some of the biggest differences between humans and chimps lie in the DNA that resides outside of genes.



Australia Has 2,000 Missing Persons and 500 Unidentified Human Remains – A Dedicated Lab Could Find Matches (The Conversation – 1/30/2018)

  • Using DNA matching to examine how many of Australia’s 500 sets of unknown bones match with the 2,000 missing Australians would likely be successful for at least some cases.



Forensic Artists Give Faces to the Faceless (ABC.Net – 1/30/2018)

  • Some art students hone their craft using life models or pieces of fruit, but at one New York school they’re using the skulls of eight men who died trying to cross the US-Mexico border.



Y Chromosomes are Shrinking – So Are Men Doomed? (CTV News – 1/31/2018)

  • The Y chromosome in human men is shrinking so quickly, it could disappear altogether – though that will likely take some 4.5 million years. But the good news is that human genetics could find a solution around the problem.



Fighting Wildlife Crime with Forensic Genetics (JSTOR Daily – 1/31/2018)



Flint DNA Drive to Assist Families in Search for Missing Loved Ones (25 News – 1/31/2018)

  • Various agencies including Michigan State Police and Crimestoppers are partnering together to host a DNA drive. The idea behind the drive is to collect DNA via cheek swabs from families of missing women in the area.