People harbor distinctive sets of microbes, the genetic signatures of which can be used to identify individuals participating in the Human Microbiome Project, according to work published today (May 11) in PNAS.
Hundreds — possibly thousands — of sexual predators and rapists may be prosecuted in the U.S. as new funding is spent on clearing a backlog of rape-kit tests. Across the country, state governments are making a concerted effort to finally test the DNA in thousands of rape kits that in some cases sat in police evidence rooms for years.
The FBI has notified crime labs across the country that it has discovered errors in data used by forensic scientists in thousands of cases to calculate the chances that DNA found at a crime scene matches a particular person, several people familiar with the issue said.
On Wednesday in the journal Nature, two teams of scientists — one based at the University of Copenhagen and one based at Harvard University — presented the largest studies to date of ancient European DNA, extracted from 170 skeletons found in countries from Spain to Russia. Both studies indicate that today’s Europeans descend from three groups who moved into Europe at different stages of history.
Forensic analysts from multiple disciplines are working on the Baby Doe case in an effort to provide leads as to what may have happened. One technician has generated an image of what Baby Doe’s face probably looked like, others have assessed her body for signs of trauma, and still others are doing toxicological tests for the presence of drugs or poison. And although the forensic field as a whole has come under heavy criticism lately, the type of work being done at this stage of the Baby Doe case is likely to be uncontroversial and universally appreciated.
For years, forensic scientists have studied differences between latent fingerprints and have used this information to identify unique patterns. Now, a new study takes a closer look at the minutiae of fingerprints and has come to an astounding conclusion: latent prints can provide clues to a person’s race.
Next week, the West Virginia Supreme Court will hear a case in which 30 former prosecutors from around the country have taken the unusual step of siding with the defense. It’s a battle over a DNA test, and whether prosecutors must turn the results over to a defendant when they point to his innocence — even if he has made the decision to plead guilty.