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


In Easter Island DNA, Evidence of Genetic Loneliness (The New York Times – 10/12/2017)

  • A study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology found only evidence of Polynesian DNA in human remains on the island that predate European contact in 1722. Though the sample size was small, the findings may change what we know about the early explorers who found the remote island and constructed perhaps some of the most iconic statues in the world.


How a Gilded-Age Heiress Became the ‘Mother of Forensic Science’ (The Atlantic – 10/14/2017)

  • Frances Glessner Lee created meticulous and gruesome dioramas of murder scenes, which are still used to train police today.


Why Race is Not a Thing, According to Genetics (National Geographic – 10/14/2017)

  • Scientists are unlocking the secrets to how we’re all related—to each other and to the species that came before us.


OJP Report on DNA Databases Surveys States Using Familial Searches, Partial Matching (Forensic Magazine – 10/16/2017)


‘They’re Just Sitting Here’: A CODIS Rape Kit Conundrum in Ohio, and Beyond (Forensic Magazine – 10/17/2017)

  • At the Akron Police Department there is a backlog of 400 to 500 CODIS hits produced by elimination of the backlog of rape kits. The hits are all potential breakthroughs in long-unsolved sexual assaults—but they don’t lead anywhere if the manpower isn’t there to do the follow-up work, said Lt. David Whiddon, supervisor in the APD’s Crimes Against Persons unit.

Justice Announces National SAKI Grant Award (The Register Herald – 10/18/2017)

  • Governor Jim Justice announced Tuesday he has awarded $377,335 in West Virginia National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant funds to one statewide project.


How Fire Forensics Investigators Approach the Aftermath of Wildfires (NPR – 10/18/2017)

  • NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with Fire Captain Specialist Ron Eldridge of Cal Fire about fire forensics and what approaches investigators take when they’re faced with many miles of scorched earth, like the situation in northern California now.


Lagos DNA Lab: A Welcome Initiative (Vanguard – 10/19/2017)

  • THE Lagos State Government, penultimate week, commissioned its DNA (Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid) forensic laboratory. It is the first state-owned DNA laboratory in the country. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had, last year, approved the DNA laboratory project as part of the criminal justice sector reforms designed to solve crimes through technology.


Using DNA to Sketch What Victims Look Like; Some Call it Science Fiction (The New York Times – 10/19/2017)

  • When a public appeal for help failed to generate leads, the Police Department turned to a forensic technique called phenotyping, which uses DNA from the biological matter people leave behind, like skin and blood, to predict their appearance.