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

Unidentified Remains to be Identified by US Military, Forensic Anthropologists (NBC San Diego – 7/28/2017)

  • The remains of what are believed to be 24 American servicemen killed on a Pacific island during World War II have been returned to the U.S. for identification.


The Forensic Science World is on the Brink of a Revolution (iNews – 7/28/2017)

  • Scientists are working to produce perfect replicas of key crime scene evidence using the latest 3D printing techniques – and they are cautiously optimistic that they will succeed.


It Might Be Impossible to Get Away With Crime Some Day (Time – 7/28/2017)

  • If the science has advanced across the entire landscape of forensics, it is DNA technology that has arguably made the most progress.


Dentures Bearing Rapist’s Name, DNA Lead to Conviction After 16 Years (Forensic Magazine – 7/31/2017)

  • Dentures left behind at the scene of a rape, imprinted with the rapist’s name and containing traces of his DNA, have led to the conviction of a 67-year-old man, 16 years after the crime took place.


Data Science Can Help Fight Human Trafficking (Forensic Science – 7/31/2017)

  • Analytics, the mathematical search for insights in data, could help law enforcement combat human trafficking. Human trafficking is essentially a supply chain in which the “supply” (human victims) moves through a network to meet “demand” (for cheap, vulnerable and illegal labor). Traffickers leave a data trail, however faint or broken, despite their efforts to operate off the grid and in the shadows.


Lovers Share Colonies of Skin Microbes, Study Finds (The New York Times – 7/31/2017)

  • In a study published Thursday in mSystems, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, researchers studied the skin microbiomes of 10 sexually active, heterosexual couples living together.


Oral Bacteria may Help Forensic Scientists Estimate Time Since Death (EurekAlert! – 8/1/2017)

  • Accurately determining the time since death is an important aspect of forensic sciences and casework. New research indicates that this might be achieved by examining changes in the bacterial communities of the mouth that occur after death.


These Bugs are the Most Gruesome Clues in Forensic Science (The Washington Post – 8/1/2017)

  • But there are limits to what scientists can divine from insects. Bug behavior rarely provides precise timelines. In particular, “numerous weaknesses and erroneous beliefs” plague the use of insects to reveal whether a body has been moved, according to the authors of a report published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ.


Statistics Proves Twitter a Powerful Tool in Forecasting Crime (Forensic Magazine – 8/2/2017)

  • Although most people don’t broadcast in advance their intention to engage in criminal activity, University of Virginia Assistant Professor of Systems and Engineering Information Matthew Gerber has discovered that the use of Twitter can help predict crime. Gerber’s research and work developing statistical crime prediction methods will be presented on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Baltimore, Md.


The Greeks Really do Have Near-Mythical Origins, Ancient DNA Reveals (Science – 8/2/2017)

  • Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece. And the Mycenaeans themselves were closely related to the earlier Minoans, the study reveals, another great civilization that flourished on the island of Crete from 2600 B.C.E. to 1400 B.C.E. (named for the mythical King Minos).