Saturday, April 5, 2014

SciFi is Now: Mugshot from DNA

Discovery News explains this bit of science fiction made real in Using DNA To Create A Suspect's Mugshot!

Technology used to fight crime and catch criminals is getting pretty advanced. A new experimental technique can take the DNA from a single strand of hair and generate a mugshot! Anthony is here to tell you how this technology works and what it could mean for the future of crime fighting.
Here is the original press release from Penn State: 3-D model links facial features and DNA By A'ndrea Elyse Messer on March 20, 2014.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- DNA can already tell us the sex and ancestry of unknown individuals, but now an international team of researchers is beginning to connect genetics with facial features, degrees of femininity and racial admixture.

"By jointly modeling sex, genomic ancestry and genotype, the independent effects of particular alleles on facial features can be uncovered," the researchers state today (Mar. 20) in PLOS Genetics. They add that "by simultaneously modeling facial shape variation as a function of sex and genomic ancestry along with genetic markers in craniofacial candidate genes, the effects of sex and ancestry can be removed from the model thereby providing the ability to extract the effects of individual genes."

In essence, by including sex and racial admixture, researchers can learn about how certain genes and their variations influence the shape of the face and its features.
Gloves to cover fingerprints won't be enough in the future.  When this technology is perfected, perps will have to wear hair nets, too.  Of course, their skin will still shed, leaving dead cells in the dust at the crime scenes.  So, criminals in environment suits, too?

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