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!




Nearly 8 Decades Later, Remains of Trenton Sailor Who Died at Pearl Harbor are Headed Home (St. Louis Public Radio – 6/24/2019)

  • Navy electrician’s mate 3rd Class William “Billy” Klasing was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, a vessel that after being attacked by a Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941, quickly capsized. Eighteen-year-old Klasing, along with 429 other crewmen, died on the battleship.

    His remains were officially identified on Feb. 4, 2019, after a long process of identifying dozens of men who died on the battleship.


New Forensic Tool Uses Single Hair to Identify Perpetrators (KQED – 6/25/2019)

  • A new forensic technique could help identify perpetrators of sexual assault using a kind of evidence typically deemed unreliable by the scientific community: hair.


Tight Security as Forensic Investigators Crack Animal Cases (The Irish Times – 6/26/2019)

  • Packages containing remains of dead mammals, birds, reptiles and crime scene evidence are put through a scanner before being admitted to the inner sanctum of the state-of-the-art Crime Scene Investigation facility in Ashland belonging to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

    Lab director Ken Goddard, a white haired, white moustached septuagenarian, says the security precautions are necessary to ensure the facility is not the target of a bomb attack.


Increased DNA Technology Leads to Useless DNA, More Testing and Bigger Backlog (WBEZ – 6/25/2019)

    • Police and prosecutors are failing to exercise discretion when submitting DNA evidence for testing to the Illinois State Police crime lab, contributing to a massive testing backlog that delays justice for crime victims, keeps defendants locked in jail and makes it harder for Chicago police to solve crimes, according to experts.


Some of the Oldest Neanderthal Bones have been DNA Tested Showing More than 70 Differences (FOX News – 6/26/2019)

  • Some of the oldest Neanderthal bones have been DNA tested, showing more than 70 differences from the species that died out 80,000 years later.

    The research suggests that the cavemen migrated eastward from Europe to Siberia and indicated that their ancestors might be an as-yet-undiscovered group.


Record-Breaking DNA Comparisons Drive Fast Forensics (Phys Org – 6/27/2019)

  • IdPrism allows identification of more than 10 individuals in a complex DNA sample, along with extended kinship results. At its heart are two algorithms that Ricke developed, FastID and TachysSTR, which encode  as bits (0 or 1) and operate quickly and smoothly.