Jul 21 2017

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 header

Idaho Becomes First in the Nation with Online Tracking of Sexual Assault Kits (Idaho Press-Tribune – 7/15/2017)

  • After a year of Idaho using an online tracking system for sexual assault kits, the nation’s first, the system has proved to be a success.


Archaeologists Go High-Tech in 2,500-Year-Old Greek Cold Case (Hurriyet Daily News – 7/15/2017)

  • Now archaeologists in Athens believe they may have found some of the remains of Cylon’s army in a mass grave in Phaleron, four miles (6 kilometers) south of downtown Athens.


Hidden in Prison: 7 States Have Thousands of Inmates Not in DNA Databases (Forensic Magazine – 7/17/2017)

  • Forensic Magazine found that seven states hold prisoners whose DNA had not been collected, and who were not in CODIS.


At Least 75 Per Cent of our DNA Really is Useless Junk After All (New Scientist – 7/17/2017)

  • You’re far from a perfect product. The code that makes us is at least 75 per cent rubbish, according to a study that suggests most of our DNA really is junk after all.


Siberia: Medieval Mummies from Mystery Arctic Civilization Discovered in Zelenyy Yar Necropolis (Newsweek – 7/17/2017)

  • Two medieval mummies from an Arctic civilization have been discovered at the edge of Siberia. The remains of an adult and a baby were found in the Zelenyy Yar necropolis, an archaeological complex discovered in 1997. They were covered in copper, the adult having been plated from head to toe.


Justice in the Blood: How Angela Gallop Solved Many of Britain’s Most Notorious Murders (Yorkshire Post – 7/18/2017)

  • DNA phenotyping can produce a sketch of the suspect. But is it ready for primetime?


61 Cases Under Investigation as Rape Kit Test Results Return (News 4 JAX – 7/18/2017)

  • The State Attorney’s Office and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office are getting results from rape kits that were left untested for years.


Ultrasensitive DNA Quantification by Light Scattering (Phys Org – 7/18/2017)

  • Traces of biomolecules such as DNA can be detected with a new “dynamic” technique based on the observation of association and dissociation events of gold nanoparticles. If the desired DNA sequence is present, it can reversibly bind two nanoparticles together. This can be detected in real time through a change in light scattering. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, this method differentiates true signals from noise and can detect deviations of individual bases.


Exhuming Salvador Dali: Paternity Suit Leads to Artist’s Grave (Live Science – 7/19/2017)

  • In a surreal development almost worthy of one of his paintings, Salvador Dalí’s grave is scheduled to be opened tomorrow (July 20) in an effort to collect DNA samples that could settle a paternity claim against the artist’s estate.


The Fight Against Human Trafficking (Officer.com – 7/19/2017)

  • Because human trafficking is committed on such a large and expanding scale, law enforcement, science and private industry have joined hands to create programs to help defeat traffickers.


16 -Year-Old from Minnesota ID’d as Victim of John Wayne Gacy (Forensic Magazine – 7/20/2017)

  • More than 40 years later, a detective from Illinois arrived at the family’s home to tell Haakenson’s relatives that at some point after hanging up the phone, the teenager crossed paths with serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Haakenson’s body, it turns out, was among dozens found in a crawl space of Gacy’s Chicago-area home in 1978. But the remains were only recently identified thanks to DNA technology that wasn’t available then, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department announced Wednesday.