DNA

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Study 'Opens Door Into a Past That Has Basically Been Lost'

Oldest DNA tells us what life once occupied Greenland

(Newser) - Scientists discovered the oldest known DNA and used it to reveal what life was like 2 million years ago in the northern tip of Greenland. Today, it’s a barren Arctic desert, but back then it was a lush landscape of trees and vegetation with an array of animals, even...

One of US' Oldest Kidnapping Cases Has a Surprise Ending

Melissa Highsmith, abducted as a baby in 1971, meets parents, siblings for first time

(Newser) - Last month, Jeff Highsmith vowed to not give up looking for his sister, Melissa Highsmith, who was kidnapped as a baby in Fort Worth, Texas, more than 50 years ago. "I have to try," he said of his recently ramped-up efforts to find his older sibling, spurred by...

Spit on Sidewalk Leads Cops to Alleged Killer
Double Killer's Mistake:
He Spit on a Sidewalk
UPDATED

Double Killer's Mistake: He Spit on a Sidewalk

Geovanni Borjas pleads no contest to raping, killing Michelle Lozano and Bree'Anna Guzman

(Newser) - Update: Walking along a California street, Geovanni Borjas did the seemingly innocuous: He spit on a sidewalk. But it wasn't innocuous at all for the killer, whose spit matched DNA on two murder victims. On Monday, the 38-year-old pleaded no contest to the first-degree murders and forcible rapes of...

Texas Schools Sending Home 'Incredibly Triggering' DNA Kits

The kits, intended to help locate a missing child, have taken on a macabre meaning after Uvalde

(Newser) - Texas public schools are sending students home with DNA kits meant to help identify them in an emergency—a move parents say is a horrifying reminder of inaction on gun violence in the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Parents aren't required to use the...

Woman Sues After Cops Use Rape Kit DNA to Arrest Her

She reported sexual assault in 2016, was arrested in theft case in 2021

(Newser) - A woman whose own rape kit was used against her by police now wants some payback. The woman identified only as Jane Doe has sued the city of San Francisco for unspecified damages over the case that made national headlines, reports BuzzFeed . After the woman reported a sexual assault to...

Unknown Soldier No More: WWI Gravestone Gets a Name
Unknown Soldier Is
Unknown No More

Unknown Soldier Is Unknown No More

British soldier who died in WWI is identified via DNA as 2nd Lt. Osmund Bartle Wordsworth

(Newser) - For more than a century, the British soldier lay in an anonymous grave, one of so many unidentified victims buried beneath the killing fields of World War I. But now, his headstone finally bears a name: 2nd Lt. Osmund Bartle Wordsworth—a great-great-nephew of English poet William Wordsworth—who was...

Quest to Free Inmate With DNA Test Made Things Worse

New evidence implicates him in another murder he'd been acquitted of 25 years ago

(Newser) - DNA evidence has increasingly been used to help free persons wrongly convicted of crimes they didn't commit. In a three-decade-old case out of Florida, however, authorities say it did just the opposite and proved that a man acquitted of murder was actually the killer all along. Per the New ...

DNA Sequencing Solves Pompeii Mystery

Man who didn't try to flee had spinal condition, researchers say

(Newser) - Scientists say they have fully sequenced the DNA of a Mount Vesuvius victim for the first time—and the genetic information explains why the Pompeii resident didn't flee the eruption nearly 2,000 years ago. According to research published in the journal Scientific Reports , the man's DNA sequence...

30 Years Later, Female Found in Ditch Has a Name

Margaret Ann Sniegowski Jr., 17, IDed thanks to DNA evidence; now it's a homicide investigation

(Newser) - For three decades, the identity of a body found along an Indiana highway remained unknown, a cold case that stumped Boone County officials. Now, a name to that body, thanks to a curious sister and advances in genetic genealogy. FOX59 details the case of 17-year-old Ohioan Margaret Ann Sniegowski Jr....

Sources: Wildly Long Table for Putin, Macron Was No Accident

Members of French leader's team say he feared DNA being swiped, wouldn't take COVID test

(Newser) - The Citizen Kane-like table that Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin sat at earlier this week during their talks on the Russia-Ukraine standoff wasn't just symbolic. Two members of the French leader's team tell Reuters that Macron was told he had to take a Russian COVID test before meeting...

DNA Is Airborne—and a Vacuum Can Grab It
Scientists Are Vacuuming
DNA Out of Thin Air
NEW STUDIES

Scientists Are Vacuuming DNA Out of Thin Air

Researcher envisions worldwide monitoring system for wildlife using environmental DNA

(Newser) - More than a decade ago, research began to describe the detection of DNA released by organisms into their environments. For the last several years, this environmental DNA has allowed scientists, including those at the US Geological Survey , to get a handle on the distribution and abundance of small, rare, or...

40 Years After Couple's Murder, Their Baby Is Still Missing

Female named Hollie Marie by her parents would be closing in on 42 now

(Newser) - Harold Dean Clouse gathered up his wife, Tina Gail Linn, and new baby, Hollie Marie, and moved from Florida to Texas, with a promise of a well-paying job as a carpenter. "I can take better care of Tina and the baby," Clouse's mother recalls him saying. Instead,...

For the First Time, Tree DNA Leads to a Conviction

Timber poacher Justin Wilke gets 20 months

(Newser) - DNA evidence is now solving crimes against trees as well as crimes against people. Justin Andrew Wilke, ringleader of a group of timber poachers that operated in Washington state's Olympic National Forest, was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison earlier this week after the first federal trial to...

DNA on Beer Cans Helps Solve 25-Year-Old Murder

Kenneth Stough Jr. is accused of killing a convenience store manager in Orlando in 1996

(Newser) - A discarded Budweiser beer can has led authorities to a man accused of stabbing a convenience store manager 73 times in 1996. Terrence Paquette, 31, was preparing to open the Lil' Champ Food Store in Orlando, Fla., before 6am on Feb. 3, 1996, when he was gruesomely attacked, per KIRO...

Sitting Bull's Closest Living Relative Is Found

Ernie LaPointe's longstanding claim of lineage has been confirmed

(Newser) - The great-grandson of the iconic Native American chief Sitting Bull is 73 years old and living in South Dakota. DNA analysis has confirmed that the chief, whose Lakota name was Tatanka-Iyotanka, is the great-grandfather of Ernie LaPointe, the Guardian reports. LaPointe had long claimed he and his sisters are Sitting...

The Paintings Remain Missing, but Authorities Say There's DNA

Nils M has been charged in the Netherlands

(Newser) - His resume fits: a Dutch man identified as Nils M spent five years behind bars in connection with the 2012 theft of a 17th-century church vessel from a museum whose doors he blasted open. Prosecutors allege he struck again following his release. The 59-year-old was arrested in April and stands...

DNA Evidence Solves Crime, This Time With a Twist
DNA Evidence Solves Crime,
This Time With a Twist
in case you missed it

DNA Evidence Solves Crime, This Time With a Twist

For the first time, tree DNA was used in a federal criminal trial

(Newser) - That prosecutors used DNA evidence to convict a criminal isn't too surprising. But in this case—a first—the DNA came from a tree, reports the Seattle Times . A jury in Tacoma, Wash., convicted 39-year-old Justin Wilke last week of illegal tree harvesting in Olympic National Forest, per the...

Mom Arrested in Newborn's Death, 14 Years Later

Another cold case helped along by DNA evidence in 2007 homicide in Pennsylvania

(Newser) - "Baby Mary Anne" would have been 14 this year, had she not been killed as a newborn and dumped in a trash bin at a Pennsylvania YMCA. Now, justice may be around the corner, thanks to DNA evidence that has helped along yet another cold case. PennLive.com reports...

14 Living Relatives of Da Vinci Discovered
14 Da Vinci Descendants
Are Uncovered
new study

14 Da Vinci Descendants Are Uncovered

New study traces his family tree through 21 generations

(Newser) - Leonardo da Vinci didn't have any children of his own, but a comprehensive investigation of his family history has turned up 14 living male relatives, reports ZME Science . The study in the Human Evolution journal has increased the previous estimate of living relatives from two and might shed light...

DNA Cracks 65-Year-Old 'Lovers' Lane' Double Murder

The presumed killer, Montana native Kenneth Gould, is dead

(Newser) - The children of a Montana native who died almost a decade and a half ago have learned the man with no known criminal history was in fact a double murderer. It wasn't a skeleton in the closet, but rather genetic genealogy that supplied the shock. Since 1956, detectives have...

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