Science Thursday – October 4, 2012


A new laboratory has opened in Washington D.C., a crime lab worker is accused of stealing evidence, and a novel extraction of DNA was used to identify a body. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:


In Washington D.C., the opening of the Consolidated Forensics Laboratory (CFL), which houses the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Department of Health, and Department of Forensic Sciences,

now allows crime scene evidence to be processed, stored, and analyzed in a central location

. Additionally, the CFS director, Max Houck, will report to the Mayor rather than the Chief of Police.


During a review process, a crime lab in Monroe County, NY,

admitted a DNA analyst committed various errors

, yet the lab said that the errors were discovered before they negatively affected any cases. The analyst is now undergoing training.


A jury is deliberating in the case of a San Francisco drug analyst whose theft of drugs

shut down the police crime lab’s drug unit and resulted in hundreds of cases being dismissed



After a plastic tray was reused during DNA analysis, which is a breach in lab protocol, a man in Great Britain was

falsely accused of rape

. The error was further compounded when the private lab did not perform a retest when the investigative officer questioned the reliability of the DNA profile.


In an article recently published in the

Journal of Forensic Science

, scientists in Mexico

successfully identified a burn victim after extracting human DNA from the digestive system of maggots

. To determine the identity, the extracted DNA was compared to the DNA of the suspected victim’s father, resulting in a 99.7% chance she was his daughter.


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