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!
Researchers will soon have access to the full genomic sequences for 23 marine mammal species preserved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), thanks to an ongoing collaboration between NIST and a scientific consortium called the DNA Zoo.
The Colorado District Court for Eagle County has ruled that STRmix– sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret– “is a relevant and reasonably reliable practice for interpreting likelihood ratios under 1,000 with low quality samples.”
“While important progress is being made, I’m concerned that nearly 100 victims of sexual assault are still waiting for their evidence kits to even be sent to a lab,” said Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale during a press conference last week. “These brave victims underwent grueling physical exams not only for the sake of their own cases, but also to potentially help protect others from being assaulted.”
The 94-kit backlog is a 62 percent decrease compared with the end of 2018, and a 90 percent decrease compared with the end of 2017.
Using whole genome sequencing, Fitzpatrick and her team sequenced the DNA mixture, then subtracted out the sequence created from the DNA of the victim. The result was a sequence for the suspect, which they ran through Identifinders’ bioinformatics pipeline to create autosomal SNP data for just the suspect. Fitzpatrick uploaded that data to GEDmatch, worked the genealogy and received a match for 67-year-old James Zastawnik, who police promptly arrested for murder.