A Dallas man convicted of capital murder in 1998 has been freed after new DNA testing exonerated him, authorities said.
Martin Santillan was accused of fatally shooting a man in 1997 after trying to rob the victim outside a Deep Ellum nightclub. Santillan, who was 23 at the time, had maintained his innocence while serving a life sentence.
A review of his case that started in 2021 used newer DNA technology to identify someone else, who has since been arrested in Colorado.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office apologized for a “miscarriage of justice.”
“It remains our job to correct past wrongs, which is what the (Conviction Integrity Unit) team in my office worked tirelessly to do” said John Creuzot, the criminal district attorney. “We owe it to Mr. Santillan to clear his name fully and completely. I sincerely apologize to Mr. Santillan and his…
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CONGENITAL disorders, including down syndrome, albinism, sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and X-chromosome-linked disorders, that could be detected by Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) may soon be disappearing from the vocabulary of hereditary diseases in the country following the latest technological breakthrough in Nigeria’s reproductive medicine. CHIJIOKE IREMEKA writes that these genetic screening techniques – PGT, Pre-implantation Selection (PGS) and Pre-implantation Diagnosis (PGD) – are currently solving the problem of transferring unhealthy embryos into the woman’s womb in In-Vitro-Fertilisation (IVF) treatment.
The use of pre-implantation genetic testing and screening techniques has increased dramatically in recent time. Since then, genetic testing strategies and diagnostic accuracy have continued to improve. With this latest technological breakthrough in the country’s reproductive medicine, the lifeblood of IVF has gone beyond being able to have babies, to being able to have healthy babies.
These techniques have helped many individuals and couples and fertility experts to prevent delivery of children with severe genetic diseases and selective abortion associated with post-gravid antenatal screening techniques in IVF
According to the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology (ICMART) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) revised…
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to colorectal cancer. More people are surviving colon and rectal cancer, but adults are being diagnosed at younger ages, which is alarming.
According to a recent American Cancer Society report, one in five new cases are among people in their early 50s or younger. There also appears to be an overall shift to more diagnoses of advanced stages of cancer.
Screenings are important because colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States, and it’s the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men younger than 50. If you are at average risk, it is now recommended that you start screening at age 45. Getting a colonoscopy is not exactly fun, but there are now more convenient options.
Types of Colorectal Screening Tests
Several screening tests can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer. These tests can be divided into two main groups, each with different risks and benefits.
Stool-based tests check the stool for signs of cancer. They are less invasive and easier to have done, but they need to be done more often. Visual (structural) exams look at the structure of the colon and rectum for any…
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Segmented By Diagnosis Type (Diagnostics Imaging (Sigmoidoscopy, Colonoscopy, Others), Stool Test (Guaiac FOBT, Fecal immunochemical Test (FIT), FIT-DNA Test), Biopsy (Image Guided Biopsy, Liquid Biopsy, Others), Others), By Application (Hospitals & Specialty Clinics, Ambulatory Care Centers, and Others, By Region, by competition.
Global Colorectal Cancer Diagnostics Market is anticipated to witness a steady CAGR in the forecast period, 2024-2028.According to Global Cancer Observatory, in 2020, around 1,931,590 new colorectal cancer cases were reported worldwide among which males and females accounted for 1,065,960 and 8,65,630 cases respectively 2020.
Colorectal cancer is caused due to uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells that starts from the inner linings of the colon and rectum.This uncontrolled growth is commonly referred to as ‘polyps’.
The demand for new diagnostics techniques/tools is increasing, which is further expected to drive the growth of Global Colorectal Cancer Diagnostics Market. The growing prevalence of colorectal cancer, the advanced technological advancement with the highest accuracy and precision, and the growing awareness amongst the population globally are projected…
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Global research study makes fascinating discovery about history’s most famous music composer
HOUSTON, March 23, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Ludwig van Beethoven’s genome was recently sequenced by an international team of scientists and it revealed some shocking information about his family history.
The name “van Beethoven” is synonymous with some of the most beautiful and innovative sonatas, symphonies, and concertos ever composed. Ludwig’s virtuosity emerged from a challenging youth, however. His father Johann van Beethoven is well known to have been an erratic, alcoholic, and at times abusive parent, who would wake his teary-eyed young son and make him practice until dawn. Now, researchers have used DNA to show that Ludwig, the most famous Beethoven, is not genetically related to other living Beethovens.
A Musical Mystery Ludwig’s generally established genealogy traces his father’s line back to van Beethoven ancestors in Belgium. Back in 2020, researchers at Cambridge University and the Max Planck Institute sequenced the DNA from several locks of hair attributed to Ludwig. Together with researchers at FamilyTreeDNA in Texas, the team planned a routine analysis of Ludwig’s paternal line by examining his Y chromosome.
The research team contacted living descendants of Aert van Beethoven (1535–1609), Ludwig’s supposed 5th great-grandfather. Five descendants of Aert agreed to take a DNA test. Because the Y chromosome is passed down from father to son with few changes each generation, the Y-DNA from Ludwig’s hair locks and the patrilineal descendants of Aert should be a close match.
Surprisingly, they were not a match! The five present-day descendants of Aert van Beethoven belong to haplogroup R1b, whereas Ludwig van Beethoven belongs to haplogroup I1. Those two father lines are separated by over 45,000 years, since around the time humans left Africa.
This strongly indicates that there was an extra-pair-paternity (“EPP”) event in Ludwig’s father’s line. Somewhere, starting with Ludwig’s father Johann and going up his family tree to his 5th great grandfather Aert, one of these Beethovens wasn’t a biological ancestor to Ludwig.
The Hunt for Ludwig’s Paternal Ancestry One of Ludwig’s paternal ancestors wasn’t his real biological ancestor. The secret suitor might have acted in any one of seven possible generations, from Ludwig’s father up to his 5th great-grandfather Aert. The team showed that Aert was indeed the father of his two sons Jan and Lambert, but could not definitively prove Aert was the father of Hendrik, Ludwig’s 4th great-grandfather.
Aert experienced quite a trauma in his own love life. His first wife Josyne Vlasselaer and the presumed mother of Lambert and Hendrik was burned at the stake in 1595 after having been condemned for witchcraft. Aert could do nothing to save his wife, but was allowed to keep half of their confiscated family property, after paying for the cost of the arrest, interrogation, torture, and burning. He later remarried with Petronella Geerts and fathered his youngest son Jan late in life.
Assuming Aert was Hendrik’s true father, perhaps Ludwig’s grandfather Lodewijk was not his true biological grandfather. Lodewijk’s wife Maria Ball suffered from alcoholism and was treated at the local monastery. Further supporting this idea is the fact that Maria’s son (Ludwig’s father) Johann has no known baptismal record.
Until more van Beethoven descendants test their Y-DNA, we can’t pinpoint the exact source of Ludwig van Beethoven’s true biological patrilineage. Luckily, an ever-increasing number of people are testing their Y-DNA, so it may simply be a waiting game.
Validating Ludwig’s Hair Given the nature of this major revelation, the research team wanted to be absolutely sure that the hair-lock DNA belonged to Ludwig van Beethoven. They set the bar high with numerous expectations that must be met.
For example, they required multiple (five) hair locks to have identical DNA, each with independently strong provenance showing how they were collected from Ludwig van Beethoven at different points in his life. It is unlikely that the same fraud was committed five independent times. Of course, the team also validated that the DNA was male, and has DNA damage patterns consistent with Beethoven’s age.
FamilyTreeDNA also invented a new genetic method to validate the hair sample. Called “Geo-Genetic Triangulation” (GGT), it searches for customers who match the sample’s autosomal DNA. “Some of our shared DNA can be erroneous, so we have to be careful” says Dr. Paul Maier, population geneticist at FamilyTreeDNA and coauthor on the paper. “GGT finds matching DNA segments and matching ancestor locations that are validated by three or more customers. It ensures that only locations with a high likelihood of being ancestral to Beethoven are selected.” The team used GGT to show that the sample shared ancestry with customers primarily in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, consistent with Ludwig’s German ancestry.
Ludwig’s New-found Relatives The research team used the genetic Y chromosome profile obtained from Ludwig’s hair to identify potential patrilineal relatives in the FamilyTreeDNA database. Candidates were contacted and offered complimentary upgrades to high resolution Y-DNA tests to participate in the study. Some were in for an unexpected surprise connection to one of the most famous composers of all time.
Six participating customers were found to share patrilineal ancestry with Ludwig in the last 1,000 years. Their oldest known paternal ancestry ranges from Germany (most commonly), to Poland, Slovakia, and even Pennsylvania, a common settlement location for German-American immigrants. Although their pedigrees offer some clues about Ludwig’s ancestry, the common ancestor lived a millennium ago, before the time when surnames became common in Europe.
Notwithstanding the age of this ancestor, FamilyTreeDNA customers proved to be quite excited to discover a connection with Ludwig van Beethoven. “It makes me proud,” said one customer, upon hearing the news for the first time. “I’ve been doing a lot of research on my ancestors for a couple of years, because I had no idea exactly who my father was, and he had no idea exactly who his father was. This is awesome. I’m a little bit speechless.” The public awaits a closer Y-DNA match to Ludwig’s DNA to provide the final clue as to the identity of his secret ancestor.
Ludwig’s Maternal Ancestry Ludwig’s genealogy traces his mother’s line back to the Rhineland-Palatinate region in Germany in the 1600s. Mitochondrial analysis showed that he belonged to a common European haplogroup called H1b1-T16362C.
He shares this maternal ancestry with James Watson, Nobel Prize winner, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of the DNA molecule, and the second person in the world to make his sequenced whole genome publicly available. Their only difference is a single mutation C16176T that is unique to Ludwig. Over time, new DNA testers may become the closest matrilineal match to Ludwig van Beethoven.
Williamsport, Pa. — A local Judge dismissed seven counts that included possession of a firearm and aggravated assault against a man accused of opening fire in a Williamsport neighborhood.
Judge Christian Frey said the evidence presented during a preliminary hearing against Aliek Quasim Carr, 32, of Philadelphia would not be admissible at trial, according to an opinion he filed on March 17.
Related reading: Shooting suspect in custody after two-year investigation
“It has not established a prima facie case,” Frey said. “As such, all counts are hereby dismissed.”
A prima facie case needs to prove that the charges against Carr could be backed up by evidence for a guilty verdict if it had gone to trial. Frey, according to his opinion, believed the Commonwealth did not meet that burden with the evidence presented.
“There was no direct evidence presented that identified the Defendant (Carr) as a shooter, or that placed a gun in his possession,” Frey said.
During her testimony and the accompanying affidavit of probable cause, Agent Brittany Alexander testified to several witnesses reporting gunfire in the area on the night of the shooting. No witnesses were called during the preliminary hearing, Frey said.
Alexander learned through a confidential informant that Ravon Blow-Enty, identified by DNA evidence, attempted to ambush Carr, who then…
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“The appearance of this lethal type of Toxoplasma in coastal California is concerning for two main reasons: First, because of potential population health impacts on a threatened species, and second, because this parasite could also affect the health of other animals that are susceptible to Toxoplasma infection,” said study co-author Devinn Sinnott of the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
This rare strain has never been reported in aquatic animals, she and her colleagues said in a university news release.
While toxoplasmosis is common and sometimes deadly in sea otters, this unusual Toxoplasma gondii appears to be especially virulent and capable of rapidly killing healthy adult otters, according to the study.
It likely arrived on the California coast only recently, the study authors noted.
It could pose a public health risk, but no infections with the strain have been reported in humans, the researchers noted.
“Because this parasite can infect humans and other animals, we want others to be aware of our findings, quickly recognize cases if they encounter them and take precautions to prevent infection,” said co-author Melissa Miller of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We encourage others to…
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has reappointed four members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, including one from North Texas, for terms set to expire on Sept. 1, 2024.
The commission provides oversight over Texas crime laboratories and other entities conducting forensic analyses for use in criminal proceedings and provides an accreditation mandate responsible for establishing procedures, policies, and practices to improve the quality of forensic analyses conducted in Texas.
The reappointed members are:
Michael Coble, PhD [Photo: UNTHSC]
Michael Coble, Ph.D. of Fort Worth is an associate professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and the executive director of the Center for Human Identification. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the Washington Academy of Sciences and a member of International Society of Forensic Genetics. Coble received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Appalachian State University and a Master of Forensic Science in Forensic Biology and a Doctor of Philosophy in genetics from George Washington University.
At the Center for Human Identification, Coble and his team work to identify missing and unknown persons, and they conduct mitochondrial DNA testing of hair evidence related to Texas criminal investigations. According to UNTHSC, the Center has assisted in thousands of missing person…
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For years, a woman whose remains were found on Staten Island was identified only as ‘the girl with the scorpion tattoo.’ Now, over 30 years later, her real name has been revealed.
Her name is Christine Belusko, the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office said in a Facebook post and on Twitter.
But that’s only part of the mystery.
Police also said Belusko had a 2-year-old daughter at the time named Christa Nicole, and investigators don’t know what happened to her.
“While Christine’s killer remains unidentified (and) the whereabouts of Christa Nicole are unknown, we are turning to the public to ask their assistance in bringing this case to a close (and) securing long-delayed justice in the case of the girl with the scorpion tattoo,” the district attorney’s office said in its Facebook post.
What happened to Christine Belusko?
Belusko’s body was found on Sept. 20, 1991 with nearly 20 blows to her head in a wooded area, McMahon said at the press conference Tuesday.