This Week in Forensic Science – ISHI News

Jun 30 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

DNA Discovery Reveals Genetic History of Ancient Egyptians (CNN – 6/23/2017)

  • Ancient Egyptians and their modern counterparts share less in common than you might think. That is, at least genetically, a team of scientists have found.


The Forensic Community Can Educate Lawyers, Judges (Forensic Magazine – 6/23/2017)

  • In the sense of the (probably apocryphal) curse, we are living in interesting times.   Scientists and professionals working with scientists, along with most intelligent people, have to be concerned with certain actions and attitudes expressed in politics.


Virtual Case Notes: Sex Offenders Can’t be Banned from Social Media, Supreme Court Says (Forensic Magazine – 6/23/2017)

  • Early this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of convicted sex offender Lester Packingham, who argued that the state of North Carolina’s ban of registered sex offenders from all social networking sites violated his First Amendment rights.


Pa. Legislature Eyes Wider DNA Sampling of Convicts (CorrectionsOne – 6/24/2017)

  • Pennsylvania lawmakers moved closer this week to mandating that DNA samples be collected from people who have been convicted of crimes, something supporters predict will help solve serious crimes.


Inside Australia’s First ‘Body Farm’: Grim Graveyard Where 100 Bodies Lie to Help Scientists Solve the Most Gruesome Crimes (DailyMail – 6/24/2017)

  • A ‘body farm’ in Sydney uses decomposing corpses to help forensic science


DNA Data from Missing in 2011 Tsunami will Enter Database (The Asahi Shimbun – 6/25/2017)

  • To lower the number still missing from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the National Police Agency will begin utilizing a nationwide database on unidentified bodies as early as July.


How African Americans Use DNA Testing to Connect with Their Past (The Atlantic – 6/27/2017)

  • Genetic tests have ushered in a new era of root-seeking and community-building, says social scientist Alondra Nelson.


Baby Doe Case Mixed Traditional and Novel Forensic Science, Leading to Mother’s Boyfriend’s Life Sentence (Forensic Magazine – 6/28/2017)

  • The resolution of the case combined traditional and novel forensic techniques to put a name to the unknown face of the child—and then bring those responsible for her death to justice.


NCMEC-Parabon Partnership : DNA Phenotyping to Bring ‘Color’ to Faces of Unidentified Children (Forensic Magazine – 6/28/2017)

  • For years, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has generated facial reconstructions of unidentified children through forensic artists who estimate features from the structure of the skull. These reconstructions have been published in grayscale, as details such as skin tone, hair color and eye color cannot be determined from the skeletal remains of the Jane and John Does left behind. When released to the public, these reconstructions have generated many leads and led to identification in several cases, but according to the NCMEC, over 700 of their unidentified child cases remain unsolved.


New Money Means More GBI Scientists to Test Rape Kits for DNA (myAJC – 6/28/2017)

  • But an influx of more than $850,000 in new funding from the state to add more scientists and lab technicians has officials hopeful the agency will eventually eliminate the rape kit backlog


Genetic Bank that ID’s Argentina’s Stolen Babies Turns 30 (Dispatch Argus – 6/28/2017)

  • The bank has become a world authority in the matter, helping Colombia, Peru and El Salvador find the disappeared from their own conflicts. It’s also provided information to the group Bring Back Our Girls of Nigeria, which has been hunting for the children stolen by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.


Seen at 11: DNA Tests Kits Help Adoptees Track Down Biological Family Members (CBS New York – 6/28/2017)

  • At-home DNA tests have exploded in popularity, but could they reveal more about your family than you ever imaged or even wanted to know?


Science Organizations Renew Call for Independent U.S. Committee on Forensics (The Washington Post – 6/29/2017)

  • Leading U.S. science organizations called on the Justice Department to renew an abandoned partnership with independent scientists to help raise forensic science standards, warning bluntly that doubts about questioned techniques have grown to the point that “society’s faith in the American justice system is at risk.”


Forensic Expert: Don’t Forget Importance of Subjective Expertise (Forensic Magazine – 6/29/2017)