New DNA Tool Will Help Catching Criminals


Catching criminals will be so easy with the new profiling tool that can predict a person’s features just by using a sample of DNA from a crime scene. Scientists have developed this tool that can predict with accuracy the eye, hair or skin color from a DNA sample. The device can also be used in profiling archaeological remains.

An All-In-One Pigmentation Profile Tool

The tool recently developed will show a physical description of the person with only a small sample of DNA. Until now, this hasn’t been possible without a web tool to piece together all three pigment traits in the DNA.

When standard DNA profiling in the forensics doesn’t help, law enforcement will use the new tool. The device is helpful when there is no genetic data to compare the sample.

The DNA test system is called ‘HIrisPlex-S’ and it can predict eye, hair and skin color from DNA.

Forensic geneticist Susan Walsh (Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), US) said:

“We have previously provided law enforcement and anthropologists with DNA tools for eye colour and for combined eye and hair colour, but skin colour has been more difficult.”

Walsh stated that the tool can predict many shades of skin color:

“We are directly predicting actual skin colour divided into five subtypes -very pale, pale, intermediate, dark and dark to black – using DNA markers from the genes that determine an individual’s skin coloration.”

The Tool Can Read Low Quality or Quantity DNA – Forensics and Anthropology

She explains that the tool is a little similar to “specifying a paint colour in a hardware store.”

The device cannot show the race or ethnicity through profiling. However, Walsh concludes that the genetics they use is more to show an objective look at what an eyewitness would see – like hair color or skin color.

Manfred Kayser (Erasmus MC University, Netherlands) added that:

“For the first time, forensic geneticists and genetic anthropologists are able to simultaneously generate eye, hair and skin colour information from a DNA sample, including DNA of the low quality and quantity often found in forensic casework and anthropological studies.”


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