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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Scientists Oppose Crime Lab Shutdown
29 December 2010 1:12 pm
Alec Jeffreys, the inventor of DNA fingerprinting, is among 33 scientists who signed a letter in The Times yesterday (subs. required) protesting the announced closure of the United Kingdom's Forensic Science Service (FSS). Once a government-run agency but now a privatized company owned by the United Kingdom, FSS maintains labs that aid the British government and local police departments and employs scientists exploring cutting-edge forensic techniques. "The FSS has truly been a leader in European forensic practice as well as research," the letter states.
But FSS now has now to compete with many firms offering DNA testing and other forensic services and the U.K. Home Office recently said that FSS was costing the government £2 million a month. Decrying FSS's closure, Jeffreys and the other signatories plead for the U.K. to maintain its commitment to forensic research:
We urgently appeal for reconsideration of this decision, and, if it is not reversed, for the UK Government to ensure continuous funding for independent forensic research and development, to protect the independent structure of the national DNA database, to maintain the resources for continuing training and education that are urgently needed in our field, and to secure an impartial system for quality assurance to all providers of forensic services.
The planned closure of FSS comes despite the organization's intent to undertake a "radical restructuring" (subs) meant to trim its losses.