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Biotech Science

Mute Witness: Forensic Sketches From Nothing But DNA 68

Posted by timothy
from the why-is-your-yearbook-too-squishy? dept.
First time accepted submitter Todd Palin (1402501) writes "Researchers at Penn State university are trying to reconstruct images of faces based only on a DNA sample of the individual. As far out as this sounds, they did a pretty good job at matching the actual appearance of the faces. This is a pretty good start on a whole new use for DNA samples. Imagine a mug shot of a rapist based only on a DNA sample."
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Mute Witness: Forensic Sketches From Nothing But DNA

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  • Is this a joke? (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobinEggs (1453925) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @07:08AM (#46550229)
    You're really not seeing how a rough picture of the perpetrator could help solve crimes, simply because many people will share the same rough picture and have some similar underlying DNA?

    Right now DNA often comes in near the end of an investigation; you have to select people to test based on traditional detective work, and then you must legally acquire their DNA to match with your sample. If suspects don't want to give you DNA simply because you asked nicely, you have to be fairly sure of their guilt - and able to convince a judge of why you're sure - before you can get their DNA involuntarily. If this test became effective, the sample you got at the beginning would show you who among the likely suspects to test against, and probably lower the bar for getting legal clearance to take their DNA.

    Not to mention you clearly have no clue how DNA testing really works; if it's important you can and will be able to match a decent sample to one and only one person. There are commonplace genetic tests that can produce 1 in 10 trillion profiles of a person's or sample's DNA to match against. The fact that this DNA processing produced a rough sketch matching X number of people is irrelevant when you'll be able to narrow that group to very few or one with the most basic detective work.

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