Aug 18, 2009 | 15
Unlike finicky fingerprints and frowned-upon fiber analysis, DNA evidence has been the most bulletproof evidence for forensic sciences in recent years. But staffers at a research firm in Israel have recently upended the presumed infallibility of this forensics golden child—by making it themselves.
Nucleix, a Tel-Aviv-based life sciences company, was able to create credible DNA evidence that could be used to finger the wrong person, proof that even genetic evidence can be manipulated (beyond planting a hair or used cigarette) just like other physical traces.
"You can just engineer a crime scene," Nucleix founder Dan Frumkin told The New York Times. "The current forensic procedure fails to distinguish between such samples of blood, saliva, and touched surfaces with artificial DNA, and corresponding samples with in vivo generated (natural) DNA," Frumkin and co-authors wrote in a recent Forensic Science International: Genetics study that announced the technological achievement.
Aug 4, 2009 | 1
Dinosaur bones are going missing all over the country—presumably stolen from the field, labs and even museums. And filched fossils can bring in tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the black market. But even when caught with the bones, would-be thieves can rarely be accused with certainty. It’s a big fossil-filled world out there, and one Hesperonychus femur can look pretty similar to the next.
But researchers are getting closer to a system that would allow ancient fossils to be identified using a unique DNA-like reading, according to an Associated Press report today.
The system would allow paleontologists to test for the prevalence of rare earth elements in just about any fossil and determine where it came from, the AP reports. “So often we catch people with fossils in their car,” a paleontologist at the frequently looted Badlands told the news wire service, “but we can’t prove they were collected in the park.”
Feb 19, 2009 | 3
Fingerprinting and analysis of hair fibers and marks made by weapons are familiar forensic tools to those of us who love crime shows, never mind to criminal defendants on trial and those who say they were wrongly convicted by evidence based on those techniques.
So you may be surprised to learn that none of those methods—which comprise the majority of what most real-life labs do—have been scientifically validated, and of the techniques commonly used in the nation's forensic labs, only DNA analysis has been rigorously proved to match a suspect to a crime.
Those are the conclusions of a new report released yesterday by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). "In terms of the reliability and accuracy in making individualization conclusions, it is fair to say that, with the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, there is a lot we do not know about other forensic disciplines," said the NAS panel's co-chair, Constantine Gatsonis, director of the Center for Statistical Sciences at Brown University, in a statement.
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The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
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