Science Thursday – January 10, 2013


The Ohio Attorney General reduces turnaround time for DNA analyses, new research creates a virtual autopsy that could improve the medical examiner field, and Texas faces a backlog of testing on rape kits. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that the turnaround time for processing DNA evidence was

significantly reduced as he had promised during his 2010 campaign

. The reduction in time is partly due to the hiring of two dozen new scientists.


Scientists at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Switzerland are trying to combine computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to

perform a “virtual autopsy.”

While still under exploration, using these techniques could reveal various injuries or details that are unseen or destroyed when performing an autopsy.


The Department of Public Safety in Texas estimates that a backlog of around 20,000 rape kits

could cost $7 to 11 million

. With thousands of untested kits sitting in law enforcement evidence rooms, state officials have to decide if outsourcing the testing to private companies, which avoids clogging the state crime lab system, is worth the higher cost.

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