Furthest Right

Race genetics likened to racial profiling

Forensic experts are increasingly relying on DNA as “a genetic eyewitness,” 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 person’s age.

Researchers are identifying genes that give rise to a person’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 suggested—correctly—that he was black. Britain’s forensic service uses a similar “ethnic inference” 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.


Share on FacebookShare on RedditTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn