FEATURED ARTICLES
NEWS
April 25, 2002 | By Faye Flam INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The coiled molecules of DNA in human cells carry a unique chemical code that can match a trace of blood, semen, skin or hair to the person who left it. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) carries its code in four characters denoted by the letters A,T, C, and G. But no microscope is powerful enough to see how this code is arranged on a given DNA molecule, so science must use more indirect methods to read it. Forensics laboratories use several different methods for determining whether two samples indeed carry identical stretches of code.
LIVING
July 3, 2000 | By Faye Flam, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
They seemed unlikely candidates to make one of the pivotal discoveries of the 20th century. Francis H.C. Crick was a 35-year-old Ph.D. candidate who had abandoned physics, hoping to find his niche in biology. James D. Watson was a gawky-looking 24-year-old who rarely bothered to tie his shoelaces. Both scientists were supposed to be working on other things, but they believed fervently that the most important scientific problem of their time was the mystery of inheritance - how everything from diseases to hair color to the very instructions to make a human being was passed on from generation to generation.
NEWS
June 3, 2004 | By Thomas J. Gibbons Jr. INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A man arrested recently in Puerto Rico for domestic offenses resembles the composite of the Fairmount Park rapist, city police said yesterday, adding that the suspect has lived in Philadelphia. As a result, the man, whose name was not released, has agreed to provide DNA that will be compared with evidence collected in the murder and rape of medical student Rebecca Park in Fairmount Park and the rape of another woman off Kelly Drive. The Fairmount Park assailant is also suspected of a third attack on the West River Drive in which the victim managed to fight off her attacker.
NEWS
October 12, 2006 | By Pam Lobley
Do you have the feeling you're related to someone famous? Maybe it's an uncanny sense that Mozart was your ancestor. Or that Genghis Khan might be in your family tree. That affinity you feel for ancient Rome can't be an accident, can it? Touring the toppled ruins of columns and friezes in the ancient city stirs something in you. Perhaps one or your ancestors was one of those emperors, or perhaps just a Roman soldier. It's in your blood. Now, with a simple swab of your cheek and a few hundred dollars, you can find out. Commercial genetic genealogy is barely five years old, but already it is proving irresistible to many.
NEWS
June 16, 2013 | By Evi Heilbrunn, For The Inquirer
In a narrow ruling June 3, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the DNA swabbing of people arrested in connection with serious crimes is legal. The Maryland attorney general praised DNA swabbing as the 21st-century equivalent of fingerprinting and said it would help solve crimes. No doubt. But the ruling represents yet another way our DNA is slipping beyond our control even as few standards exist for its use, storage, and destruction. The implications are laid out in Biotechnology in Our Lives , the latest book from the Council for Responsible Genetics, a Cambridge, Mass., nonprofit focused on the ethics of gene research and biotechnology.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 12, 2016 | By Howard Gensler
P RINCE has an heir. According to the heir. We've been waiting for this to happen since the purple music icon died without a clear line of inheritance. Nature abhors a vaccum, and here to fill that vacuum is 39-year-old Carlin Q. Williams , of Kansas City, Mo. He's a Colorado prison inmate who has filed a paternity claim with a Minnesota court against the Prince estate and is seeking DNA testing to determine if Prince is his biological father. In an accompanying affidavit, his mom, Marsha Henson , contends that she conceived Williams while having sex with Prince at a Kansas City hotel in July of 1976.
NEWS
April 29, 2016 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Staff Writer
The prosecution alleges that the killer of Cheryl Hanible in 1989 left behind "touch" DNA when he removed the lace from one of her sneakers and used it to strangle her. And that DNA, Philadelphia police DNA analyst Bryne Strother testified Wednesday, almost certainly came from 54-year-old Rudolph Churchill of Paulsboro. But could Churchill's DNA have somehow, accidentally, been picked up by Hanible's sneaker without his ever touching it? That was the hypothetical question posed by defense attorney Gina Capuano in questioning Strother during Churchill's Common Pleas Court trial on rape and murder charges in the stranglings of Hanible and Ruby Ellis.
NEWS
October 7, 2015 | By Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
In what officials say is the nation's first such countywide effort, Bucks County police departments announced Tuesday that they have created a database of DNA samples collected from accused or suspected criminals. The mouth swabs for the database are collected on a voluntary basis, with police requesting them from those who have been arrested or from suspects. The aim is to catch criminals who often fly under the radar of national and state DNA databases, which contain the genetic material of more hardened felons and sex offenders forced to submit DNA samples.
NEWS
November 4, 2011 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, zalotm@phillynews.com 215-854-5928
POLICE yesterday announced the arrest of a man who allegedly raped a 40-year-old woman outside the Linc during an Oct. 5, 2008, Eagles-Redskins game. "It was obviously a real challenge for us because of the number of people in and around that stadium," Special Victims Unit Capt. John Darby said yesterday. "It's almost like finding a needle in a haystack. " Police said they arrested Tiaghgee Daughtry, 22, who lives in Tunkhannock, Pa., near Scranton, on Wednesday, for allegedly raping the woman on a bus during the game.
NEWS
December 26, 1996 | By Michael E. Ruane, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
No one really knows what happened to Phil Purcell's plane that day in September 1963 over Kontum, Vietnam. A relief pilot saw him turn his ancient B-26 back toward Da Nang. But he never arrived - plunging, instead, into the highlands below and vanishing beneath the oncoming tide of history. For three decades, as his bones and those of his crewmates moldered in Vietnam, as his children grew up and his wife remarried, the story of who he was lay locked in his body's DNA, like a song waiting to be heard.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 20, 2016 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Staff Writer
Three years ago, Ronnie Byrd died in a South Carolina prison at age 62, forgotten in his hometown of Philadelphia until DNA testing showed that he raped 77-year-old Louise Talley in 1991 in her Nicetown home. On Thursday, lawyers for Anthony Wright - the 44-year-old man granted a new trial after being convicted and sentenced to life in prison for Talley's rape and murder - presented a former Nicetown neighbor who put Byrd alive and living around the corner from Talley's house at 3959 Nice St. when she was killed.
NEWS
August 19, 2016 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Staff Writer
DNA testing won Anthony Wright a new trial, and on Wednesday a DNA analyst began explaining the results of those tests to the Philadelphia jury that will decide if Wright is guilty of the 1991 rape and murder of a 77-year-old Nicetown woman. Wright, 44, served 21 years of a life prison term after a Common Pleas Court jury convicted him in 1993 for the slaying of Louise Talley. The prosecution's case was built on Wright's eight-page confession to the crimes, blood-spotted clothing that detectives said they found in Wright's bedroom where he told them it would be, and a teenager who told police he saw Wright wearing a black-and-red Chicago Bulls sweatshirt and pacing in front of Talley's house.
NEWS
August 14, 2016
Never Before Noon By Joanne McLaughlin Eternal. 340 pp. $14.95 Reviewed by Katherine Ramsland Your parents, whom you despise, decide to end their lives. Oh, and they also disclose that they're vampires. But they're not altogether sure whether you're "like them. " Those are the stakes in Joanne McLaughlin's new novel, one of the "new romance" novels in the vampire genre. By "new romance," I mean the post- Fifty Shades kind that includes regular bouts of heated sex, not the kind that arises from emotional need.
NEWS
August 12, 2016 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Staff Writer
The science of DNA got Anthony Wright a new trial after he served 21 years of a life sentence for the 1991 rape and murder of a 77-year-old Nicetown woman. But neither the DNA nor the name of the neighborhood crack dealer it identified as the man who raped Louise Talley was mentioned by the prosecutor Wednesday in her opening to the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury in Wright's retrial. Instead, Assistant District Attorney Bridget Kirn focused on the evidence used by police and her predecessor in Wright's 1993 trial: his confession to the rape and murder; statements from people who said they saw Wright enter Talley's house; and testimony from two alleged associates of the man DNA identified as the rapist.
NEWS
July 27, 2016 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Staff Writer
Back on Feb. 29, the retrial of Anthony Wright for the 1991 rape and murder of a 77-year-old Nicetown woman was postponed when police reexamined the clothes believed to have been worn by the woman and discovered two hairs apparently overlooked during the investigation 25 years ago. Now it seems the source of those hairs will remain a mystery. At a pretrial hearing Monday, it was announced that DNA tests excluded the victim, Louise Talley, and dead inmate Ronnie Byrd as the source of the newly discovered hairs.
NEWS
July 18, 2016 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Staff Writer
DNA testing of a single human hair, which could make all the difference in the prosecution's ability to retry Anthony Wright in the 1991 rape and murder of a 77-year-old Nicetown woman, is inconclusive. Wright's Feb. 29 retrial in the Oct. 19 slaying of Louise Talley was postponed when police reexamined clothes believed to have been worn by Talley and discovered two hairs apparently overlooked in the original investigation a quarter-century ago. One of the hairs proved unsuitable for DNA testing; the "inconclusive" finding in the comparison of the second hair with Wright's DNA became public Friday in a pretrial hearing before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd.
NEWS
July 14, 2016 | By Olivia Exstrum, Staff Writer
Back in 1965, when now-U.S. Rep. John Lewis led hundreds of protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., members of African Methodist Episcopal churches were among them. A half-century later, after two black men died at the hands of police last week in Louisiana and Minnesota, A.M.E. Church members from around the world took to the streets of Center City in protest. They were among about 30,000 A.M.E. members in the city for the denomination's quadrennial conference, which ends Wednesday at the Convention Center.
NEWS
June 20, 2016 | By Bill Lyon, For The Inquirer
Third in a series. Read part one and part two here.  The secret to having a long life, a doctor once told me, is choosing your parents very carefully. He wasn't kidding. Diet? Of course. Exercise? Who doesn't know that? Avoid stress? Well, duh. Don't smoke? Well, double duh. But for a gold-plated pass through the Pearly Gates, nothing beats having a flourishing family tree whose roots, generation after generation, are flush with a robust DNA that is passed faithfully along.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 12, 2016 | By Howard Gensler
P RINCE has an heir. According to the heir. We've been waiting for this to happen since the purple music icon died without a clear line of inheritance. Nature abhors a vaccum, and here to fill that vacuum is 39-year-old Carlin Q. Williams , of Kansas City, Mo. He's a Colorado prison inmate who has filed a paternity claim with a Minnesota court against the Prince estate and is seeking DNA testing to determine if Prince is his biological father. In an accompanying affidavit, his mom, Marsha Henson , contends that she conceived Williams while having sex with Prince at a Kansas City hotel in July of 1976.
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