DNA

B. Smith via Flickr Creative Commons

For the first time in decades, scientists are excavating fossils from an 80-foot-deep cave in North Central Wyoming.

The cave is called “Natural Trap Cave,” because it’s become the final resting place for countless animals in past centuries—including many now-extinct ones like mammoths, short-faced bears, and American lions.

Julie Meachen is a paleontologist at Des Moines University. She’ll rappel into the cave with a team of 15 others.

A conference committee is trying to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of a bill that compensates people wrongly convicted of a crime.  The House version of the bill says that someone exonerated of a crime via DNA, still has to return to court and prove their innocence in order to get compensation. 

The Senate rejected that notion.  Bill Sponsor Keith Gingery says he doesn't like the House version, but that the bill is important and he doesn't want to lose it.

Laramie County District Court’s Judge Campbell granted Andrew Johnson a new trial today, based on fresh DNA evidence. Johnson has served 24 years of a life-in-prison sentence. He was convicted of sexual assault of a Cheyenne woman in 1989. The woman’s rape kit contained semen, but Innocence Center Managing Attorney, Elizabeth Fasse, says it wasn’t until 2008 that anything could be done with that evidence.

Katie’s Law, a bill that would have allowed the state to collect DNA of people arrested for certain felonies will not move forward in the Wyoming House.

A committee voted 5-3 to kill the bill, which is named after a 22-year-old New Mexico resident whose killer was identified based on DNA matching. Proponents of the bill argued that DNA is the modern equivalent of a fingerprint.