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


Somalia Gets First Forensic Lab Dedicated to Rape Investigation (Forensic Magazine – 9/18/2017)

  • A new forensic lab launched in central Somalia could transform how the Puntland state government handles cases of rape and gender-based violence, and possibly create a model for the rest of the country to follow.


‘My Genes Made Me Do It’: Behavioral Genetic Evidence in Criminal Court (Forensic Magazine – 9/18/2017)

  • However, a new review finds that genetic evidence used in the courtroom is not likely to be effective in convincing judges and juries that the defendants are less culpable for their actions.


New Law Lets Texas Drivers Help Tackle the State’s Rape Kit Testing Backlog (The Texas Tribune – 9/18/2017)

  • Driver’s license applications will soon ask Texans whether they’d like to donate $1 or more for sexual assault kit testing. It’s the state’s latest effort to reduce a backlog that has swelled for years.


Shining a Light on Forensics (ASU Now – 9/18/2017)

  • ASU program director Kimberly Kobojek delves into the world of crime-scene analysis ahead of Tuesday’s event on the lateset in DNA


Lagos Opens Nigeria’s First Forensic Laboratory (Vanguard – 9/18/2017)

  • THE Lagos State Government has completed the construction of the first ever high-powered DNA Forensic Laboratory in Nigeria, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem has disclosed.


Here’s What Happened When a Football Team Decided to Give Out Free DNA Tests (Buzzfeed – 9/18/2017)

  • At the Ravens vs. Browns game on Sunday, a biotech startup had planned to hand out tens of thousands of free genetic tests. But the promotion was axed at the last minute after questions from the Maryland health department.


65 Skulls Found in Mass Grave at Site of Gruesome War Crime  (Time – 9/19/2017)

  • Forensic experts say they have retrieved the remains of at least 65 victims from a mass grave in central Bosnia, the site of one of the most gruesome crimes of the country’s 1992-95 war.


Why the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab is One of the Most Efficient at Processing DNA (WAFB – 9/19/2017)

  • The Louisiana State Police Crime Lab is one the most efficient crime labs in the country in terms of turn-around time in processing DNA analysis requests for law enforcement cases.


‘We Have Closure’: DNA Confirms Vietnam-Era Remains are Park Ridge Woman’s Brother (Park Ridge Herald-Advocate – 9/19/2017)

  • It wasn’t until last December — 44 years after George Macdonald’s plane was reported shot down in Laos at the tail end of the Vietnam War — that the surviving members of the Macdonald family finally got their confirmation: DNA extracted from bone fragments recovered from the crash site in 1985 and held in a laboratory in Hawaii matched that of George Macdonald’s only sister, Jeanette Frye, a medical examiner’s report revealed.


To Catch a Paedophile, You Only Need to Look at Their Hands (WIRED – 9/20/2017)

  • When a paedophile or rapist films their crime, professor Sue Black can track them down using nothing more than the veins, scars and other markings on their hands


Cotton vs. Nylon Swabs: Efficiency Depends on Experience (Forensic Magazine – 9/20/2017)

  • Not all DNA swabs are equal—but that may have more to do with the hand guiding them than the material at the tip, according to a new series of tests by scientists at University College London’s Centre for the Forensic Sciences.


Ancient Human DNA in Sub-Saharan Africa Lifts Veil on Prehistory (Phys Org – 9/21/2017)

  • The first large-scale study of ancient human DNA from sub-Saharan Africa opens a long-awaited window into the identity of prehistoric populations in the region and how they moved around and replaced one another over the past 8,000 years.


Let’s Keep the Science in Forensic Science (Scientific American – October 2017)

  • A body created to set national standards is now in danger