DNA

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DNA Triggers Trial in 1987 Killing of Canadian Couple

They were traveling from British Columbia to Seattle when they disappeared

(Newser) - Jurors in Washington state on Friday heard about the mysterious final days of a young Canadian couple killed in 1987—as well as the novel method authorities used to finally make an arrest three decades later, the AP reports. William Earl Talbott II was arrested last year and charged with... More »

DNA Arrest of 82-Year-Old Leaves Town in Shock

Ray Vannieuwenhoven is accused in a 1976 double murder

(Newser) - All it took was a licked envelope, and Wisconsin police arrested 82-year-old handyman Ray Vannieuwenhoven for allegedly murdering a young couple on a camping trip in 1976—but some people are struggling to believe it, the AP reports. "I said, 'You gotta be kidding me,'" said... More »

Chilling New Material Appears to Be 'Alive'

Cornell University scientists point to a future of 'lifelike' robots

(Newser) - Scientists have created a new material—some are calling it a little machine—that's oddly lifelike and points to a possible future in which robots are "alive," TheNextWeb reports. In Science Robotics , Cornell engineers say they've invented a biomaterial based on artificial DNA that has its... More »

Looks Like Revolutionary War Hero Wasn't Male

Casimiar Pulaski may have been female or intersex, researchers say

(Newser) - A Revolutionary War hero dubbed the "father of the American cavalry" may well have been female or even intersex, if new research holds up. Experts analyzing the DNA and bones of Casimiar Pulaski—a Polish-American soldier who was fatally wounded in the 1779 Siege of Savannah—say the skeleton... More »

Girls Never Made It Home From a 1999 Party. Now, a Suspect

New DNA testing technique has tied Coley McCraney to murder of 2 teen girls in 1999

(Newser) - Nearly 20 years after they were murdered, two Alabama teens may finally get some justice, and it was partly the case of the Golden State Killer that led to the break in theirs. The story of what had happened to Dothan's JB Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, both 17, on... More »

This Might Be Great White Sharks' Biggest Advantage

Decoded genome sheds light on how they heal their own wounds, stay healthy

(Newser) - Scientists for the first time have decoded the genome of the great white shark, and the results show that humans have much to learn from the long-lived creatures. The sharks' genes seem especially suited to healing their own wounds and warding off illness, reports Wired . "These include DNA sequences... More »

A Distant Cousin's DNA Test Could Lead FBI to You

FBI can trace more than half of Americans via a third cousin's DNA

(Newser) - Federal investigators looking to solve crimes can find a DNA match for a relative as close as a third cousin (connected by a great-great grandparent) to more than half of Americans by accessing genealogy databases. Yaniv Erlich, chief science officer at DNA testing company MyHeritage, came to that conclusion after... More »

After 70 Years, Nazi Conspiracy Theory Debunked

DNA tests confirm Rudolf Hess died in prison

(Newser) - The man who hanged himself at the age of 93 in Berlin's Spandau Prison in 1987 really was Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's former deputy, DNA tests have confirmed, quashing a conspiracy theory that persisted for more than 70 years. Researchers trying to prove that the Nazi was not... More »

'Incredibly Rare': Extinct Wolf DNA Turns Up in Texas

Canines on Galveston Island could be red wolf-coyote hybrid

(Newser) - The red wolf was declared effectively extinct in the American wild almost 40 years ago, but, like the Neanderthal, it lives on in descendants still thriving today. That's the welcome discovery revealed in a study in Genes , which found a substantial amount of red wolf DNA in two road-kill... More »

Scientific Giant Stripped of Honors Over Racist Comments

Nobel laureate James Watson ghosted by his own lab after new racist comments

(Newser) - James Watson, the Nobel Prize-winning DNA scientist who lost his job in 2007 for racist views, was stripped of several honorary titles Friday by the New York lab he once headed. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said it was reacting to Watson's remarks in a TV documentary aired earlier this... More »

How DJ Was Busted in Old Cold Case: Gum, a Water Bottle

Raymond Rowe charged in 1992 murder thanks to new DNA technique called genetic genealogy

(Newser) - More than a quarter century had passed since the murder of a 25-year-old Pennsylvania teacher before an arrest was made in June, and now the suspect, a disc jockey known as "DJ Freez," has admitted his culpability. ABC News reports Raymond Rowe, 50, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges... More »

How Bad Spelling Doomed Sayoc

Authorities didn't just use fingerprints

(Newser) - Cellphone pings, DNA, and misspelled words all helped authorities to find and arrest suspected bomb-mailer Cesar Sayoc on Friday, CNN reports. Law enforcement officials say they got a big break Thursday when five of the packages were traced to a processing and distribution center in Opa-Locka, near Miami. When DNA... More »

DNA Cleared Him. Now He's Suing After 129 Days in Jail

Xavier Davis says he told cops after his arrest for sexual assault: 'You have the wrong person'

(Newser) - "For whatever reason, they decided Xavier Davis was the guy." That from the lawyer for 31-year-old Davis, arrested in January as the suspect in a sexual assault in Grand Rapids, Mich. The problem: DNA evidence and Uber and phone records showed Davis wasn't the guy, and charges... More »

The Golden State Killer Was Elusive. Then She Came Along

Barbara Rae-Venter never expected to be an amateur sleuth

(Newser) - Barbara Rae-Venter isn't exactly a household name—but the 70-year-old retired attorney and genealogist was a key factor in the Golden State Killer investigation, the San Jose Mercury News reports. "Her expertise proved to be invaluable," says Paul Holes, a retired inspector who's been credited with... More »

Child of 2 Extinct Human Relatives Found for First Time

Siberian bone fragment shows Neanderthal mixing with a Denisovan

(Newser) - Scientists say they've found the remains of a prehistoric female whose mother was a Neanderthal and whose father belonged to another extinct group of human relatives known as Denisovans, the AP reports. The 90,000-year-old bone fragment found in southern Siberia marks the first time a direct offspring of... More »

9/11 Victim Identified After Almost 17 Years

DNA advances helped investigators ID bone fragment

(Newser) - Advances in DNA testing have helped investigators identify the remains of one more victim of the 9/11 attacks—the 1,642nd to be identified, and the first in almost a year. A bone fragment that investigators had attempted to identify several times over the years has been confirmed as belonging... More »

She Got Her Finger Up His Nose. That's All Cops Needed

DNA sample helped Seattle police find Jose Luis Tum-Coronado, 35

(Newser) - A woman helped police track down a sexual-assault suspect by literally getting in his face, Q13 Fox reports. Prosecutors in Washington state have charged Jose Luis Tum-Coronado, 35, as he sits in a Georgia prison—all because the unidentified assault survivor stuck her finger up his nose. "My main... More »

Answers in One Mystery Lead to More Questions

Could Robert Ivan Nichols be the Zodiac Killer?

(Newser) - What appeared to be a straightforward suicide case morphed into what's been called "one of northeast Ohio's biggest mysteries," involving a long-dead boy, identity theft, and a war hero turned deadbeat dad. Now, per the Plain Dealer , the cold case has been (somewhat) solved, largely thanks... More »

'We Have No Idea What This Was Until We Get a DNA Report'

Mysterious wolf-like creature shot in Montana

(Newser) - A central Montana rancher shot a wolf-like animal after it was spotted in a pasture with livestock, but a closer look has prompted state wildlife officials to take DNA samples to determine what type of animal it was, reports the AP . Fish, Wildlife, and Parks regional spokesman Bruce Auchly said... More »

Team Searches for DNA of Loch Ness Monster

They plan to test hundreds of samples from lake

(Newser) - The stories seem as tall as the lake is deep. For hundreds of years, visitors to Scotland's Loch Ness have described seeing a monster that some believe lurks in the depths. But now the legend of "Nessie" may have no place left to hide. A New Zealand scientist... More »

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