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!
Genealogy became a prime consideration in the wake of the arrest of the reputed Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, in California last spring. Parabon NanoLabs was contacted several months ago, and they determined several family trees that came back to Sioux Falls.
Senate Bill 184, drafted by Sen. Wayne Shaw, R-Grove, allows for the use of Rapid DNA, a device about the size of a desktop copier that can deliver results in under two hours. The measure passed by a 32-10 vote.
The LRCFS is undertaking the largest ever study into the variation in footwear marks made by the same shoes across different surfaces and activities so that the variation observed can be used to explore links between the shoe and the mark it makes.
One of the biggest home DNA-testing companies seems to have bowed to a backlash over its decision to allow the FBI access to its database, by announcing a new way for customers to stop law-enforcement agencies accessing their data.
Researchers and ethicists, including the scientist who pioneered and patented CRISPR gene-editing technology, are calling for a global moratorium on human germline editing — changes made to inherited DNA, the genetic material in sperm, eggs or embryos that can be passed on to the next generation.
Because of the Innocence Project, nearly 400 innocent people who were serving long sentences now walk free, including 20 inmates on death row. The organization, which advocates on behalf of wrongly convicted inmates, has also helped track down more than 150 criminals. And the group’s work has resulted in the exoneration of people in 37 states.
A former Fairfax County, Va., man convicted of rape in 1976 and imprisoned for 4½ years despite conflicting physical evidence and multiple alibi witnesses has had his conviction erased by the Virginia Supreme Court.
The Hungarian lieutenant, fighting alongside the German forces in the final act of World War II, had stepped on a landmine in Ukraine in the spring of 1944 and died. Seventy years later, the putative remains of Gyula Agner—posthumous recipient of the Hungarian officer’s gold medal for bravery—were dug up in a churchyard by the Hungarian Ministry of Defence and brought back to his native soil.
In the last week alone, investigators in two separate cold cases from the 1970s and ’80s revealed how DNA helped them resolve a pair of decades-old mysteries. One brings a family closure. The other thrusts a family into the fresh tragedy of a long-concealed teenage trauma. Both hint at a new feature of a world increasingly connected by relative-finding algorithms, social networks, and the internet; that in the age of digital DNA databases, nothing stays secret forever.
Ancient DNA is uncovering the secrets of the unique populations of what are now Portugal and Spain. Two studies published this week include unexpected findings from the DNA of people who lived thousands of years ago on the Iberian Peninsula.
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