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 header


NIST Seeks Input on OSAC 2.0 (Forensic Magazine – 8/25/2017)

  • The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking public input on a potential new organizational structure for the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science. NIST and the Department of Justice (DOJ) formed OSAC in 2014 to strengthen the nation’s use of forensic science by facilitating the development of technically sound forensic science standards and by promoting the adoption of those standards by the forensic science community.


Break in Las Vegas Cold Case Leaves Detectives and Family Hopeful (KVVU – 9/1/2017)

  • There’s been a major break in a cold case that’s left friends and family grieving and wondering for nearly 13 years. Someone strangled 26-year-old Theresa Insana in 2004. Now, thanks to new technology, detectives may know what her new killer looks like.


DNA Testing Kits, TV Help Make Genealogy a Hot Hobby (Chicago Tribune – 9/1/2017)

  • The era of DNA testing kits and massive amounts of information on the internet and TV has made genealogy a popular hobby, but local fans say it has been an addictive one for a long time.


Meet the Forensics Queen Debunking ‘NCIS’, ‘Silent Witness’ (CNet – 9/1/2017)

  • Xanthe Mallett, a university professor of forensic anthropology and criminology, unravels what’s real and what’s ridiculous in the land of TV crime shows.


Searching DNA: Identifying the Disappeared in Columbia (Aljazeera – 9/2/2017)

  • Can forensic science advances bring closure for relatives of tens of thousands of Colombia’s war disappeared?


California Bill Aimed at Reducing Backlog of Untested Rape Kits Passes Committee (KCAL – 9/1/2017)

  • At the State Capitol Friday, legislators took a big step towards helping rape victims get long overdue justice.


Identifying Missing Soldiers: DNA Analysis in Asia  (Forensic Magazine – 9/1/2017)

  • More than six decades after the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, historic political shifts result in a rise in ancient DNA (aDNA) collection and the need for sophisticated forensic labs to meet the needs for today’s aDNA processing techniques.


New DNA Swab to Combat Sexual Violence in War Zones (Forensic Magazine – 9/5/2017)

  • Scientists have created a self-testing DNA swab that could make it much easier to prosecute the perpetrators of sexual violence in poor and war-torn countries where victims typically have poor access to forensic tools.


FBI and NamUs Partnership IDs Victims, Killers, Unknown Nationwide (Forensic Magazine – 9/5/2017)

  • What began as a pilot program in February has already transitioned into the normal workday routine for the some 35 FBI fingerprint examiners—although the results have proven to be anything but routine.


Chinese Map App Leads Parents, Lost Children to DNA Collection Points (Xinhua Net – 9/5/2017)

  • The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and Internet giant Alibaba have jointly upgraded a mobile map application to show the locations of free DNA collection points for lost children and their parents.

NYPD Using New DNA Test to Identify Dismembered Man (FOX News – 9/6/2017)

  • New DNA testing may help the NYPD finally identify a dismembered murder victim from more than ten years ago.


Police to Use Families’ DNA to Help Trace Over 730 Missing People (Express – 9/6/2017)

  • A NEW specialist police team is to take DNA samples from hundreds of relatives in a bid to trace more than 730 missing people.


Reasonable Uncertainty: The Limits and Expectations of an Expert’s Testimony (Forensic Magazine – 9/6/2017)

  • Courts require experts to testify “within reasonable scientific certainty.” Sounds legit, right? It isn’t—not to scientists.


How Forest Forensics Could Prevent the Theft of Ancient Trees (Smithsonian – 9/6/2017)

  • To track down timber thieves, researchers are turning to new tech and tried-and-true criminal justice techniques


Does the UK Need a Human ‘Body Farm’? (BBC News – 9/7/2017)

  • Worldwide there are several such facilities: one in Australia, the others are in the US. But now UK scientists, including Dr Anna Williams from the University of Huddersfield, are lobbying for one in the UK.


Bosnian Forensics Experts Search Ravine for Victims of 90s War (Reuters – 9/7/2017)

  • Forensic experts began searching a ravine in central Bosnia on Thursday for the remains of around 60 Bosnian Muslims and Croats killed by Serb forces early in the 1992-95 war.