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February 21, 2006

Whoa, Cool: DNA Test Could Indicate Suspect's Last Name

Hey, your Y chromosome is passed from father to son, just like your last name. People with common last names tend to be related, if tenuously. So why not build a database of DNA commonalities among people with the same surname?

Forensic scientists could use DNA retrieved from a crime scene to predict the surname of the suspect, according to a new British study.

It is not perfect, but could be an important investigative tool when combined with other intelligence.

...

"The evidence would not be hanging on the Y chromosome, all it would give you is an investigative tool to prioritise a sub-set of your suspects," said co-author Dr Mark Jobling from the University of Leicester.

Mining the information would require building a database of at least 40,000 surnames and the Y chromosome profiles associated with them.

Dr Jobling emphasises the limitations of the method; it could have some predictive power in just under half the population, after the most common surnames like Smith, Taylor and Williams have been excluded.

But he says it has the potential to cut down on the police workload.

"If you had a big enough database, it would give you from your crime scene sample a list of names," Dr Jobling, from the University of Leicester, told the BBC News website.

That's just too cool.

Unfortunately, in the future, episodes of CSI will be one and a half minutes long.

On the plus side, so will episodes of CSI: Miami.

Thanks to Link Mecca.


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posted by Ace at 04:19 PM

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