Mar 09 2018

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


DNA Sheds Light on Settlement of Pacific (BBC News – 3/2/2018)

  • A study of ancient DNA has shed light on the epic journeys that led to the settlement of the Pacific by humans.


Dubai Wants to DNA Test Its Millions of Residents to Prevent Genetic Disease (Smithsonian – 3/2/2018)

  • Through a project called Dubai 10X Initiative, it hopes to leverage technology to end disease due to genetic disorders and adopt customized treatment and medicine. But one of the most ambitious aspects of the project is the plan to test the DNA of all 3 million of its residents, Kristen V. Brown reports for Gizmodo.


Virginia Student’s Murder Sparks Bid to Expand DNA Databank (Star Tribune – 3/3/2018)

  • Graham and her husband, John, have been lobbying Virginia lawmakers to add trespassing and several other misdemeanors to the list of crimes that trigger mandatory DNA collection. It’s part of a nationwide movement to expand DNA databanks by including misdemeanors ranging from shoplifting to trespassing to destruction of property.


Pay for Kentucky’s Crime Lab Scientists ‘Woefully Inadequate’. Will Lawmakers Help? (Lexington Herald Leader – 3/6/2018)

  • Without an increase in pay for crime lab scientists, Kentucky State Police may not be able to hire or retain enough technicians to keep up with surging workloads caused by the state’s drug crisis, state lawmakers were told Tuesday.



Free Software Can Help Spot New Forms of Fentanyl and Other Illegal Drugs (NIST – 3/7/2018)

  • To control fentanyl, which mimics heroin but is far more potent, forensic chemists need to identify it. But when they encounter a new type of fentanyl, called a fentanyl analog, it will not yet be in the chemical databases they use to identify illegal drugs. Now, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a free software tool to help.



The Search for Greece’s Unburied War Dead (Euro News – 3/7/2018)

  • A DNA database to identify the remains of Greek WWII soldiers killed and buried in mass graves in Albania during 1940-1941 has been set-up in Athens.


Amelia Earhart’s Bones Were Those Discovered in 1940: Study (Forensic Magazine – 3/8/2018)

  • Amelia Earhart, the intrepid pilot who vanished over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 while trying to fly around the globe, was a pioneer for explorers—and especially women. But the mystery surrounding her final fate catapulted her into the stuff of legend.But that legend has been perpetuated by early mismeasurements, and unrefined anthropological analyses of the time, contends a new paper in the journal Forensic Anthropology. A set of remains found on the island of Nikumaroro in 1940 was likely Earhart’s all along, writes a University of Tennessee–Knoxville biometrics expert.



Dutch Police are DNA Testing 21,500 Men to Solve a 20-Year Old Murder (Gizmodo – 3/8/2018)

  • In order to solve cold case, police have asked 21,500 men in the German-Dutch border area to participate in a massive DNA hunt. The hope is that the mass screening might identify a relative of the killer, whose DNA would be a close match.