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Patrica Beard was violently strangled in her studio apartment. Patricias gruesome murder would later be the 100th murder to be solved in July 2013 by a group known as Denver Cold Case team.
At the time, 32 year old Patrica Beard was known to be mentally disabled. Her family would often call or stop by to check on her. When she hadn’t been heard from in several days, they knew something wasn’t right.
According to the Denver Post, Ms. Beard was found in her studio apartment, partially clothed, and dead on her bed. In 2011, DNA evidence from a crime scene kit was entered into a database. In 2013, investigators got a hit!
The DNA found at the crime scene belonged to a 53 year old Pennsylvania man, named Hector Bencomo-Hinojos. Hinojos claimed to have never known or been in contact with Ms. Beard. However, DNA evidence proved Hinojos had sexual contact with Ms. Beard within hours of her death. Bencomo-Hinojos faces charges of murder in the 1st degree.
At this point we are aware of the fact that ANY form of DNA testing, under any circumstance, can be life changing.
Cases such as the one you will read about in this article, are horrific to say the least, but thanks to modern technology, peace of mind and closure, can be brought to family members and loved ones around the world.
On March 15, 2019, Najah Ferrell, of Indiana, never made it into work. A few weeks later, her personal belongings were found at one location, while her car was located in another. It was at this time, law enforcement began suspecting foul play.
Fast forward to the week of April 29th, a man fishing in Crown Point, caught a grueling catch. To his shock and surprise, a severed foot was at the end of his fishing line. Luckily, the foot had a distinctive tattoo on still visible on it.
The family of Najah Ferrell have confirmed the tattoo matched that of a tattoo their loved one also had on her foot. This is a major break in the case!This leads us to believe authorities have officially located partial remains of what’s said to be the missing mother.
The remains are currently undergoing DNA testing. Once the DNA test confirms the foot is Najah’s authorities are hoping this will lead them one step closer in finding and convicting, the person who committed such a crime.
Stay tuned into our future blogs to find out updates on this case!
1. Allelle: Pair or series of genes on a chromosome, that determine the hereditary characteristics.(aka, “DNA Markers.”)
2. Probability of Paternity: Overall likelihood of paternity expressed as a percentage.
3. Combined Paternity Index: An odds ratio indicating how many times more likely it is that the possible father is indeed, the biological father, rather than a randomly selected, unrelated man, with a similar ethnic background.
Let’s take it back to the basics in regards to identical twins …
A very common question: “Do identical twins share the exact same genetic makeup?”
General studies would say “YES! identical twins do indeed share identical DNA profiles.”
But what if I told you that although identical twins come from the same fertilized egg, there are still small variances in their genetic makeup? To most people, this information is nothing more than that; information, and typically does not matter to the average person.
But let’s say you’re pregnant…
What if you are unsure who the biological father of your child is? What if the (2) men you believe to be the biological father happen to be identical twins? Would you be able to determine which twin fathered your baby?
Unfortunately the “average” paternity test would most likely NOT be able to prove with certainty which twin fathered the child. However, recent studies have shown that highly advanced and ridiculously expensive DNA testing methods will actually test the entire genome sequence for both alleged father, and child. This means as many as 6 billion markers would need to be tested, in order to locate a single mutation in one of the twins’ genetics, that would also be passed on to the child. Today’s DNA testing methods and protocol do not analyze enough DNA markers, aka, “allelles,” to distinguish the difference between the identical twins DNA, and thus determine a biological relationship.
We anticipate in the near future labs will be able to perform unique extensive testing methods such as these, at a reasonable cost to the consumer.
Here are (4) main reasons your child’s DNA may not match your DNA at every marker:
(1) The match is from the other biological parent.
(2) The match is related to both you and the parent of your child, but doesn’t share enough DNA with you to show on their genetic makeup.
(3) The match shares a small identical segment, along with an identical by descent segment that they share with the child.
(4) The match shares a small segment with your child that is coincidentally identical.
A 10 second handshake can transfer one person’s DNA to another person or object, that the first person has never even touched before?
According to forensic scientist Cynthia Cale, during a handshake experiment, a person who’d never picked up a knife, became the major source of DNA on the handle of the knife, approximately 7% of the time.
According to forensic anthropologist, Leann Rizor, the last person to touch a community pitcher was often not the person that left the most DNA behind. Studies such as these prove to complicate crime scene investigations. These statements do not mean DNA evidence should be deemed “unreliable,” but investigators should be sure to take these accidental transfers into account.
The city of Dubai is already incredibly advanced, and now they are planning to attempt to wipe out genetic diseases in their country. They have launched a project called the Dubai 10X Initiative where they hope to end diseases due to genetic disorders and create customized treatment plans.
A government organization is planning to create a database for all of its residents (over 3 million people) and are planning to DNA test all of their residents, whether they are a citizen or non-citizen.
Through this initiative, Dubai is hoping to encourage healthier lifestyles for residents that are at a higher risk for genetic disorders or diseases, to lower their chance of developing the diseases in the first place.
The UAE is continuing to lead the way in healthcare initiatives throughout the world.
DNA already helps us predict certain traits like hair color, eye color, and skin color. But what would you do if you found out that scientists are well on their way to being able to completely (and accurately) reconstruct your face? And all from genetic data…
Last year, a study was conducted where whole genomes were sequenced and this resulted in models that were able to predict a wide variety of things including 3D facial structure, voice, height, weight, and BMI. This study was met with a lot of backlash because the predictions were being based on ancestry and sex, rather than specific individual faces.
So what does this mean for the future of DNA, our genetic code, and ultimately our genetic privacy? Let’s just put it this way — the more than we learn about and understand our genetic code, the privacy of our genetic data can become compromised.