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!




If You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted, Here’s What Doctors and Nurses Do Next (The Conversation – 8/29/2019)

  • People who have been sexually assaulted, be they adult or children, can expect slightly different procedures depending on their state or territory. The general principles, however, remain the same.



Pollen ‘Nerds’: U.S. Government Enlists Scientists to Track Drug Loads, Crack Cold Cases (The Washington Post – 8/30/2019)

  • In a small, obscure government laboratory here, two self-described “nerds” are doing microscopic detective work, trying to determine the origins of the major narcotics shipments that U.S. agents intercept at the border.


Walking the Path of Migrants: Beyond Borders Team Volunteers Forensic Work to Help Identify Migrant Bodies (The Reflector – 8/31/2019)

  • Although some migrants have yet to be found, many have been identified through the volunteer organization Beyond Borders. Every spring, the Beyond Borders forensic science team takes two trips to volunteer their services and help identify migrant bodies.


Neanderthal DNA in Modern Human Genomes is Not Silent (The Scientist – 9/1/2019)

  • From skin color to immunity, human biology is linked to our archaic ancestry.


California Investigators to Use War Zone DNA Analysis Technique to Identify Boat Fire Victims (Reuters – 9/3/2019)

  • Brown said a team from California’s Department of Justice was gathering DNA samples from family members and employing a rapid DNA analysis tool to positively identify the victims.


These 3D Portraits Are Created from Strangers’ DNA (Forbes – 9/4/2019)

  • Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg has been exploring these ideas through her piece Stranger Visions. In 2012, she collected chewing gum, cigarette butts and other discarded items from public places in New York City, and used these create a series of 3D portraits based on the DNA from these found objects.



‘Great Relief’ for a Grieving Mother: Alaska’s DNA Detectives Make an Arrest 41 Years After a Teen’s Killing (WWNY – 9/4/2019)

  • After more than 40 years, Alaska State Troopers have arrested an Oregon man in the cold-case mystery of an Anchorage teenager’s killing, KTUU reported.



DNA Hints the Loch Ness ‘Monster’ Might be Giant Eel (AP – 9/5/2019)

  • A scientist who collected DNA from Scotland’s Loch Ness suggests the lake’s fabled monster might be a giant eel.

    Neil Gemmell from the University of Otago in New Zealand says the project found a surprisingly high amount of eel DNA in the water. He cautioned that it’s not clear whether that indicates a gigantic eel or just a lot of little ones.


A Burst of Clues to South Asians’ Genetic Ancestry (The Atlantic – 9/5/2019)

  • A tiny ear bone from more than 4,000 years ago is shaping the story of migration and heritage in India.



Who Is Paul Holes, the True Crime Fan Favorite who Helped Capture the Golden State Killer Suspect? (Oxygen – 9/5/2019)

  • Paul Holes may be known for helping find the alleged Golden State Killer, but he is just getting started bringing criminals to justice.