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Face-Mapping and Sketching from DNA

The advancement of technology largely goes hand in hand with solving an issue that currently has no solution. In the area of criminal investigations, there have been significant innovations that were created to help make sense of clues left behind at a crime scene that otherwise could not be pieced together. Much of the innovation has helped police officers and investigators solve what appeared to be cold cases and led investigators on a new trail that otherwise would have led to a dead end.

DNA Technology of the Past: Comparison to Database

DNA, and specifically the information extrapolated from it, has made a significant impact on the outcome of crime scene investigations. DNA technology has enabled investigators to collect DNA from a crime scene and compare it to a database of offenders in hopes that a match is found, leading the investigator either to the perpetrator or to someone who was at the scene of the crime who could give more information as to the identity of the actual perpetrator of a crime. New technology in the DNA arena is going beyond just the comparison of DNA found to a database, which proves useless if the source of the DNA is not on the database; to be sure, new DNA technology can be used to build a profile and even an image of a face.

DNA Technology of the Present and Future: Face Sketching and Mapping

A new company recently invented software that can analyze the information of DNA found at a crime scene and sketch an image of what the DNA’s source looks like. This technology is known as “forensic DNA phenotyping” and the technology can use the DNA to predict the suspect’s hair and eye color. The technology is improving to provide greater detail about skin color, freckling, hair curliness, baldness, age, and tooth shape. The technology is still in the process of using DNA to detect age and height, and there is difficulty in the technology to determine the shape of someone’s face.

Forensic DNA Phenotyping: Issues with the Technology

The other issues that come with the technology involve the issues that go hand-in-hand when using DNA technology. Though the DNA can say a lot about the source of the DNA, it also references the ancestry of the source since the DNA is composed of familial qualities. This could mean that the DNA sketching might be able to predict information about an individual, and also this individual’s siblings, parents, and anyone else who has DNA-similarities.

Forensic DNA Phenotyping: The Legal Issues of its Use

From a legal standpoint, the use of the sketch may also have admissibility issues when it comes to criminal proceedings. Because the technology is predictive and creates a sketch, law enforcement would be unable to arrest a suspect based solely on the sketch. This is because the sketch takes the DNA and provides a best-guess as to the qualities and traits of the DNA’s source, but does not definitively prove that the sketch is the likeness of the suspect. The sketch might be helpful in providing a hint as to the perpetrator’s identity, but more substantial evidence, on its own, would have to be provided in order to arrest and later convict the suspect.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a criminal offense, and the prosecution is relying on DNA evidence to prove its case, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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