Forensic Science Week 2020
Forensic Science Week recognizes the contribution that forensic science makes to the criminal justice system. This year, Forensic Science Week is being held September 20-26. Throughout the week, the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) is engaging with the community to bolster our presence and to highlight the impact that forensic science has in the world. Learn more about the exciting events below and follow @ForensicCOE on Facebook, LinkedIn, and twitter to stay up-to-date on news and events! Stay tuned and check back to see the exciting content we’ll be releasing to celebrate Forensic Science Week 2020.
Find 2019 Forensic Science Week content here!
Diversity and Inclusion in Forensics
To celebrate Forensic Science Week, we interviewed several established professionals within the forensic community about their experiences working within criminal justice system. Now more than ever, it is imperative to give a voice to underrepresented populations within the field. Below, you can view their responses to our questions regarding diversity and inclusion. We sincerely appreciate their efforts as they add their voices to the conversation.
Forensic Science Week Trivia Contest
In honor of Forensic Science Week 2020, we’re hosting a daily trivia contest with an incredible grand prize: One free registration to the AAFS 2021 Conference! Follow us on social media and message us the correct answer to our daily trivia question to be entered into the drawing to win! The winner will be randomly selected from all entries and will be announced at the end of the week.
Answers to previous questions will be published below. We would like to send a HUGE thank you to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences for the wonderful grand prize donation!
1. The 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for the invention of this analytical technique. What technique is it?
Answer: PCR Analysis
2. Who is considered the father of modern toxicology?
Answer: Mathieu Orfila
3. Who was the first President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences?
Answer: R.B.H. Gradwohl, MD (Elected in 1949)
4. Which animal is known to have fingerprints that are virtually indistinguishable from humans?
5. In what city and state can you find the United States’ first body farm?
Answer: Knoxville, Tennessee
6. How fast is a rapid DNA test performed?
Answer: 70-95 minutes
7. The transfer of material from one object to another when they come into contact is an example of what principle?
Answer: Locard’s Exchange Principle
NIJ and Rutgers University: Advancing Mixture Interpretation Analysis with NOCIt
“One could argue that a better approach than opting for the minimum number of contributors to a mixture might be to determine the number of contributors best supported by the data.”
—Jaheida Perez, et al. Croat Med J. 2011; 52: 314–26
The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME)
The FTCoE is excited to announce the publication of our latest report during Forensic Science Week!
DNA samples recovered from crime scenes often contain at least two contributors. Complex forensic DNA mixture interpretation can be challenging and requires computational advancements that support its use. Using forensic probabilistic tools to identify a DNA sample’s number of contributors (NOC) is crucial to accurately computing the weight of evidence for a person of interest. Drs. Catherine Grgicak and Desmond Lun at Rutgers University developed and validated a probabilistic system, “NOCIt”, that determines a probability distribution on the NOC given an STR electropherogram. Dr. Grgicak and colleagues determined that NOCIt calculates accurate, repeatable, and reliable inferences about the NOC—significantly outperforming manual methods that rely on filtering the signal.
Read the full report HERE!
Just Forensic Genetic Genealogy and GEDmatch: Verogen’s Approach
In this Forensic Science Week special episode, Just Science interviews Brett Williams, the CEO of Verogen, about the GEDmatch database, how it can be used by law enforcement to perform forensic genealogy searches for investigative leads, and the short- and long-term plans Verogen has for the widely used database and related services.
Verogen is a spin-off of the Illumina corporation and has grown to be an innovator in the realm of forensic genomic technologies. Since their inception, Verogen has evolved from forensic applications to focus on biometrics-based human identification, as a whole. Following this vision, in December of 2019 Verogen acquired GEDmatch, a crowd-sourced database used by millions of genealogy enthusiasts to trace their family trees, but more recently it has been adopted by law enforcement to aid in cold case investigations.
Listen along with our guest host, Donia Slack, as she and Brett Williams discuss the impact that genetic genealogy and GEDmatch have had on the criminal justice system in this episode of Just Science.
Check out the full episode HERE!