Forensic experts are increasingly relying on DNA as â€œa genetic eyewitness,â€ says Jack Ballantyne, associate director for research at the National Center for Forensic Science at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, who is studying whether a DNA sample can reveal a personâ€™s age.
Researchers are identifying genes that give rise to a personâ€™s physical traits, such as facial structure, skin color or even whether they are right- or left-handed. That could allow police to build a picture of what a criminal looks like not just from sometimes-fuzzy eyewitness accounts, but by analyzing DNA found at a crime scene.
In 2004, police caught a Louisiana serial killer who eyewitnesses had suggested was white, but whose crime-scene DNA suggestedâ€”correctlyâ€”that he was black. Britainâ€™s forensic service uses a similar â€œethnic inferenceâ€ test to trace murderers and rapists.
(Race is a collection of genetically-determined traits derived from adaptation to a specific locality.)
We’re so in denial of issues like race that we cannot even discuss them maturely. Most people, having listened to their TVs, would be shocked that there’s even a link between race and DNA at all.