Forensic Molecular Photofitting

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DNA Aids Forensic Experts

US scientists report that the smallest amount of DNA found at a crime scene could help reveal the face of the criminal.

The new process called ‘forensic molecular photofitting' goes far beyond doing an identity-proving genetic fingerprint.

clipped from www.irishtimes.com

DNA sample may be enough to build an image of your face

FORENSIC SCIENCE is about to take a startling new turn – reconstructing facial features and skin tone simply by reading your DNA. This goes far beyond doing an identity-proving genetic fingerprint, it means the person’s actual face will emerge after analysing a collection of genes, according to a scientist from Pennsylvania State University.

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Mail Online

The process has already been used to help identify and convict serial killer Derek Todd Lee who murdered seven women in Louisiana.

Witness statements said the offender was white but genetic testing of DNA at the crime scenes showed he was African American - which helped lead to his arrest.

He was convicted in 2004.

Analysis of DNA left at several crime scenes helped identify serial killer Derek Todd Lee

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clipped from online.wsj.com

Mark Shriver, an anthropologist and geneticist at Pennsylvania State University, has also set himself a daunting challenge: Trying to construct a "picture" of a person's face by analyzing DNA. He calls the technique "forensic molecular photo fitting," and it is supported by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

His team collected DNA samples and photographs from 243 people, including many from the Penn State campus, and used computer techniques to correlate the genes with his subjects' facial features. They have found six genes that seem to influence such traits. One gene is associated with the height of the face; another is associated with its width. Yet another gene affects the shape of the lips and the nose. By piecing together these elements, Prof. Shriver hopes to create a modern-day version of the police artist sketch.

[To Sketch a Thief: Genes Draw Likeness of Suspects]
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Penn State University

Anthropological Genomics Lab

Welcome to the Shriver Laboratory!

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Faculty Image

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  1. DNA Aids Forensic Experts - Science News - redOrbit
  2. DNA sample may be enough to build an image of your face - The Irish Times - Mon, Feb 16, 2009
  3. DNA left at crime scene could be used to create picture of criminal's FACE, say scientists | Mail Online
  4. Genes Draw Likeness of Suspects - WSJ.com
  5. Department of Anthropology at Penn State
  1. Dna sample could reveal your face - The Inquirer
  2. Crime Scene DNA Could Create Image of Suspect's Face - ABC News
  3. Forensic Scientists Working on Technology to Render Face Photos Solely from DNA Left At Crime Scene
  4. Mixed Population Provides Insights Into Human Genetic Makeup