Investigators Can Now Determine Your Eye Color From DNA Left At A Crime Scene

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are using new technology that can predict visual features from DNA. That is, it can determine things like the color of your eyes only from DNA left at a crime scene. Ouch.

AFP said on Sunday that the new technology opens a new world of forensic DNA testing for criminal investigation.

This is called massively parallel sequencing (MPS). AFP said it can provide predictions of the visual features of criminals from the DNA they leave at a crime scene, allowing investigators to predict the sex, biogeographic ancestry and color of the criminals. eyes. Soon, they said, he will be able to predict hair color.

The prediction of biographical ancestry compares DNA to a reference library of three ancient human population groups, AFP said. He also said it could help exclude people of interest.

According to AFP, MPS works by examining the nucleotide base sequence of DNA that is present in samples taken at crime scenes. It is the fundamental code for all living things, including humans.

Current DNA profiling technologies for human identification examine variations in the length of the human genome, but the MPS examines the nucleotide sequence of these regions, which makes MPS more informative than traditional DNA profiling.

In a statement, AFP said the real power of the technology comes from its ability to obtain leads from DNA when the perpetrator is unknown and there is no matching profile in a DNA database of law enforcement agencies.

“AFP has carefully tested and evaluated the MPS to ensure its accuracy, before it is used in forensic investigations. This validation for use in forensic analysis is an Australian first for law enforcement, ”he said, adding:“ The platform also applies to cases of missing persons and unidentified human remains.

AFP is also currently working with universities and Geoscience Australia to develop MPS capabilities to analyze environmental DNA (eDNA) as a forensic tool for soil, dust and water profiling and drug surveys.

Over the next decade, AFP will look to expand what MPS can do, for example to include traits like age, body mass index, and height.

“We will also be looking for opportunities to provide detailed predictions for facial metrics such as eye distance, eye, nose and ear shape, lip fullness and cheek structure,” the lead scientist added. from AFP MPS, Dr Paul Roffey.

Maria D. Ervin