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How Australian Police will Use DNA Sequencing to Predict What Suspects Look Like

The double-helix structure of DNA.

The new sequencing technology will allow investigators to gain information about the physical characteristics of a potential suspect, even when there is no matching DNA profile on a law enforcement database.

Credit: nobeastsofierce Science/Alamy

Australian federal police have announced they are using next-generation DNA sequencing technology to predict the physical appearance of potential suspects.

Based on DNA left at a crime scene, the technology – also known as massively parallel sequencing – can predict externally visible characteristics of a person even in the absence of matching profiles in police databases.

MPS can "predict gender, biogeographical ancestry, eye colour and, in coming months, hair colour", according to the AFP.

Experts say the technology is a "gamechanger" for forensic science, but also raises issues around racial profiling, heightened surveillance, and genetic privacy.

From The Guardian (Australia)
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