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Science Thursday: A Mug Shot Database

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Posted: October 20, 2011   4:08 PM

The FBI plans to implement a number of new forensic technologies, evidence is questioned in New York, Michigan, and Oregon, and scientists use pig cadavers to study decomposition. Here’s a roundup of this week’s forensics news:

The FBI is implementing the Next Generation Identification system that allows law enforcement to search a photo of a suspect against mug shots in a database. Michigan, Washington, Florida and North Carolina will be the first states to access this system, and it will be used nationwide by 2014. The database raises concerns about the reliability of the technology and privacy issues.

DNA scientists are critical of the FBI’s plans to expand the number of genetic markers used to identify people in the national DNA database.

A New York judge threw out a drunk driving conviction based on concerns about inaccurate testing by the Nassau Police Crime Laboratory, which is now shuttered.

Lawyers in a Michigan argued to block a firearms expert’s testimony on evaluation of bullet trajectories. The composite bullet lead evidence in a murder case for which an Oregon man was convicted was found two years after the case against him was dismissed.

A study in the American Journal of Human Genetics claims that scientists have discovered a gene associated with adermatoglyphia, a condition that results in the absence of fingerprints in people.

Scientists at the University of Windsor are using pig cadavers to study decomposition and are building a database of insects found in graves.
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