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Category Archives: Forensics

Opinion: Forensic Science under the Magnifying Glass

Contributed by David Howitt and Fred Tulleners, Forensic Science Program Earlier this year, the National Research Council, part of the National Academies of Science, released its eagerly-awaited report on the practice of forensic science in the United States. Judging from …
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Jeff Mount on New Orleans’ levees

Interviewed by ABC-7 yesterday UC Davis geology professor and flood expert Jeff Mount commented on the state of the levees in New Orleans and in our region. Levees are meant to take a certain amount of “overtopping” where water flows …
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Firearms Microstamping Feasible but Variable

New technology to link cartridge cases to guns by engraving microscopic codes on the firing pin is feasible, but did not work equally well for all guns and ammunition tested in a pilot study by researchers from the forensic science …
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Using DNA to trace people, past and present

Two stories in the news this week show how DNA analysis revolutionized our ability to identify people and trace their ancestry. In Thursday’s New York Times, Amy Harmon reported on how police are using “surreptitious collection” of DNA samples to …
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NRC Advises Against National Ballistics Database

The National Research Council, part of the National Academies of Science, released a report yesterday advising against setting up a national database containing images of ballistics markings from new and imported guns sold in the U.S. The idea behind such …
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Disarming the prohibited

State officials have been seizing an increasing number of firearms from people prohibited from owning them under state or federal law, according to the Contra Costa Times. The stepped-up enforcement follows introduction of a computer system, the Armed and Prohibited …
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Schwarzenegger signs microstamping bill

Governor Schwarzenegger signed 101 bills into law and vetoed 58 Saturday. One of them was a bill requiring that some handguns be fitted with technology that etches or “microstamps” a code into the cartridge each time the gun is fired. …
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More insect expertise needed, and not just for solving murders

Recently, Lynn Kimsey of the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology testified in the trial of a man accused of killing his family. He’d set up an alibi by flying to Ohio on business, renting a car and driving back …
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Dog DNA evidence in Atlanta killings

The Atlanta District Attorney and lawyers for convicted killer Wayne Williams are arguing over a new analysis of DNA evidence by UC Davis scientists. The evidence in question is from dog hairs found at the murder scene, which appear to …
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Insect forensics story goes far and wide

The story of how UC Davis entomologist Lynn Kimsey helped to convict a murderer by identifying pieces of smashed bug from a car radiator has been widely picked up. See, for example, recent stories in the Los Angeles Times, the …
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