The ISHI Report
Letter from the Editor
Greetings from Promega! We hope this edition of the ISHI Report finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. The ISHI organization team has spent the last few months learning more then we ever thought about hosting a symposium in a virtual environment. We trust the result will be an event that will inform you about the latest scientific advances in forensic science while providing an opportunity to network with others who share your passion.
The general session program will be split into three half day sessions running from Monday, September 14 through Wednesday, September 16. Topics will include policy updates like the latest guidelines from the FBI on use of Rapid DNA and a report from OSAC on new standards for forensic DNA testing laboratories. You’ll also hear updates on the GEDmatch database and several examples of cold cases solved using forensic genetic genealogy, including the oldest Doe case ever resolved with the technique. In all, more than twenty speakers will share their research in the general session.
If you’re interested in a deep dive into using probabilistic genotyping in court, implementation of Rapid DNA, or learning how forensic genealogy is being used to solve cold cases consider registering for one of the workshops being offered in conjunction with ISHI. Find all the details and register on www.ishinews.com, the official symposium website.
As the COVID pandemic wears on, we could all use a distraction. It’s our hope that this latest ISHI Report will provide you with a welcome diversion as it explores current topics in forensic science and introduces forensic professionals who are influential in the field.
In this issue we interview Lutz Roewer, who has been instrumental in the foundation and continued success of the YHRD database. He’ll give updates on the current status of the YHRD and share how agencies can benefit by using its data.
We talk to Susan Walsh, currently a professor at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis about her cutting-edge research in forensic DNA phenotyping. She’ll be speaking at ISHI on advances in predicting eye color.
Sylvain Hubac of the French Gendarmerie shares an update on adopting the mobile DNA lab used for processing DNA samples from mass disasters to assist in COVID testing. His agency is one of many helping community efforts to combat the pandemic.
Two guest authors describe new tools for forensic genealogy both to train individuals in the methodologies and incorporate new techniques to solve cold cases. Taking a step back in history, we learn from Rachel Keiser about testing skeletal remains from the house of Aragon.
Finally, if you plan to participate in ISHI 31 we’ve got some tips to help you make the most of your experience. Enjoy the August issue. As always, we welcome your ideas and written contributions to our publication. We hope to see you virtually at 31st International Symposium on Human Identification which launches on September 14.
The Editorial Board