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!




Strengthening Forensics (Millennium Post – 1/6/2019)

  • Researchers are pushing the boundaries of infrared forensics with promising results for criminal and anti-terrorism investigators


Fingerprints to Convicts: ACME Tracks Down the Enemy (dvids – 1/6/2019)

  • ACME is the only forensic operating lab in theater providing critical analysis to identify force protection threats and enable host nation criminal prosecutions.

    The technicians and scientists within the lab specialize in capturing DNA, fingerprints and weapons technical inspection evidence to help defeat IED networks.


Project Will Map Genetic Make-Up of Armenian Community (CyprusMail – 1/6/2019)

  • Members of the Armenian community have been asked to provide DNA samples on Sunday after a Christmas church service in Nicosia for research that aims to map the genetic background of the Cypriot population.


A Cigarette Butt and an Old Scrap of Paper Led to an Arrest in a 26-Year-Old Unsolved Killing (The Washington Post – 1/7/2019)

  • He committed crimes in both Idaho and Washington and both had turned into cold-cases. Now, with new DNA technology available, Lee Robert Miller has been brought to justice.



Ancient DNA from Viking Graves Proves the Fierce Fighters Rode Male Horses (LiveScience – 1/7/2019)

  • Vikings who settled in Iceland more than 1,000 years ago valued their horses so much that the men were buried with their trusty steeds. And DNA analysis of these treasured animals recently proved that the horses consigned to the grave with their manly owners were males, too.


Q&A: Next-Gen DNA to Make ‘Breakthrough’ in 2019 (Forensic Magazine – 1/7/2019)

  • Next-generation, or massively parallel, sequencing is being touted across the forensic DNA industry as the next “big thing.” Several key milestones were realized over the course of 2018 in using the advanced new tool, as an expert wrote in a recent retrospective.

    But what’s on tap for 2019?


Found in a Cave in Northwest Alaska, an Ancient Tooth Offers Insights into the First Inhabitants of the Americas (KTOO Public Media – 1/7/2019)

  • A paper published in 2018 analyzes the oldest ancient human remains found in the Arctic: a 9,000-year-old child’s tooth.


Cold-Case Investigation Warms Up With Help from Forensic Artist (Forensic Magazine – 1/7/2019)


Genealogy Database, Gum, Help Convict DJ in ’92 Killing (The Washington Post – 1/8/2019)

  • The case had stymied investigators until authorities working with DNA from the crime scene used a publicly available genealogical database to identify a half-sister of the then-unknown suspect, leading them to Rowe, who had lived just miles from where the killing occurred.


DNA Clears Accused Golden State Killer of 1975 Murder (The Tribune – 1/9/2019)

  • The man accused of being California’s Golden State Killer has been cleared of involvement in the 1975 murder of a 14-year-old girl in the Central Valley, prosecutors said Tuesday.


Police Collect DNA From Nursing Home Workers After Rape of Patient in Coma (The New York Times – 1/9/2019)

  • The police collected the DNA of male employees of a private nursing home in Arizona this week as they broadened the investigation into allegations that a woman in a vegetative state there who gave birth to a child last month had been sexually assaulted.


What is Life? UT Researchers are Building a Database to Describe It. (Texas Standard – 1/9/2019)

  • Their massive database of DNA “patterns” will eventually help scientists better identify life on other planets.


New Job, System Approved to Track New Hampshire Rape Kits (Bristol Herald Courier – 1/9/2019)

  • New Hampshire will implement a new system to keep track of evidence in sexual assault cases after finding that nearly 600 rape kits had not been submitted to the state crime lab.


‘It’s Not Like TV’: An Inside Look at Ocean City Forensic Unit’s Crime-Fighting Team (Delmarva Now. – 1/9/2019)

  • Real life crime scene technicians are on call 365 days a year, and they have to adapt to all kinds of situations. No matter if it’s morning or night, sunny or raining, hot or cold — these techs are on the scene.

    But for the three women who make up the Ocean City Police Department’s Forensic Services Unit, the most rewarding part of the job is knowing they helped solve a piece of the puzzle.


How DNA Test Results Can Change People’s Behavior and Physiology (wbur – 1/9/2019)

  • But two researchers at Stanford University wondered, what if knowing you had certain genetic material led to you creating a mindset about your capabilities, or even a physiological reaction?


DNA Doe Project Names 3 More, Notes Case Patterns (Forensic Magazine – 1/10/2019)

  • The DNA Doe Project, focused on these victims and runaways, has now identified three more, bringing their total successes to six. More are likely to come in the near future, co-founders Colleen Fitzpatrick and Margaret Press said in an interview this week with Forensic Magazine.


American Statistical Association Issues Guidance on Statistical Statements for Forensic Evidence (Phys Org – 1/10/2019)