ON THE COVER: Criminals can use 3D printing to their advantage, but so can law enforcement. See full article here.

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Applications & Advances in Forensic Mitochondrial DNA Analysis

DNA analysis from crime scene evidence is central to a large proportion of cases. Results from DNA Short Tandem Repeat (STR or “DNA fingerprints”) were introduced to courts in the mid 1980s and widely accepted by the late 1990s as standardized protocols, and statistical probabilities were developed. STR DNA analysis has had an impact on countless investigations and court cases. Strengths of this data include both its resolving power for excluding an individual, and the ability to determine potential relationships between evidence and suspects due to Mendelian inheritance of nuclear DNA. However, there are only two copies of the DNA per cell in linear chromosomes. If DNA extracted from the source material has been degraded or is of a very low concentration, it may be unsuitable for STR analysis.

NIST Corner: Fentanyl and First Responders

Fentanyl Can Sicken First Responders. Here’s a Possible Solution.

Safety in the Lab

Evaluation of Forensic Crime Lab Employees’ Chemical Exposures

Book Excerpt: Overview of the Examination of a Dismembered Body

An excerpt from Criminal Dismemberment: Forensic and Investigative Analysis

Edited by Sue Black, Guy Rutty, Sarah Hainsworth, and Grant Thomson
3D Scanning Technology for Faster Autopsy Documentation

A study at the University of Toronto finds 3D scanning works smoother and faster than photography during autopsy, providing critically important spatial data.

3D Printing for Crime Solving & Convictions

3D printing (a.k.a. additive manufacturing) has the potential to transform the world by simplifying manufacturing, shortening supply and distribution chains, democratizing production, creating and repatriating jobs, and customizing products to our needs. But 3D printing can also be used for both causing crimes—as well as solving them. I learned during my recent speech at the Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement (SMILE) conference that the risks and benefits of 3D printing are largely unknown to the law enforcement community. Here’s some of what’s happening.

Tool Kit: Lighting Solutions

Here's eight products to help with lighting the scene and detecting evidence.

Fresh Ideas in Forensics at 2017 International Symposium on Human Identification

Experience fresh ideas in forensics at the 28th International Symposium on Human Identification. For more than a quarter century, ISHI has brought together forensic scientists from around the world to discuss and debate the current state of DNA analysis for human identification. This year’s symposium will be October 2-5, 2017, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington. More than 900 scientific experts and DNA analysts are expected to gather to share the latest technologies, announce new product concepts, and debate policy issues. The symposium is open to all practitioners and suppliers of DNA analysis for human identification.

Evidence Going Mobile

"It’s nice to dream."

That was one of the first comments I ever received after asking a room of evidence staff if a mobile application would solve some of the problems. I had just finished my first day in the life of an evidence staff member, walking around with them and understanding the pain points of their job. One of my primary goals of the day had been to better understand how evidence staff were using barcodes and scanners in their daily lives.


Interview with an Expert

One of the more specialized areas of crime-scene investigation has to do with searching for evidence of arson. To get some background in this area, we spoke with an individual who has had more than 46 years in fire service, 24 of which have focused specifically on fire/arson investigation.