Australia’s use of DNA phenotyping

Another forensic DNA advancement is helping authorities in Australia to identify the unidentified remains of missing persons.

DNA phenotyping can predict a person’s physical appearance, including color of eye, hair and skin, as well as other characteristics, without the need for a match with an existing sample in a database. In Australia the focus of this technique has been in missing-persons cases, but it will also be used by the Australian Federal Police to aid in criminal investigations.

As the article notes, police departments in the United States “have for years been using private DNA phenotyping services, like one from the Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs, to try to generate facial images of suspects.” “The images are sometimes distributed to the public to assist in investigations.”

While there is debate about the ethics and application of this technology, it is clear it will continue to be refined. Who knows, if the MSP properly handled and stored the evidence in the OCCK case and was ever transparent about this investigation, after 45 years we could still learn a lot about who left DNA on those kids and their belongings. And this could happen in conjunction with genetic genealogy searches based on recovered DNA. There is more than one way to get after this.

No matter how careful the monsters were who were in contact with these murdered kids, they left DNA. A shower, a bath, surgical gloves–good enough for 1976 or 1977, but not for today. If the agency in charge of hunting down the murderers in essence assisted the killers in these cases by not following any semblance of good protocol in handling, reviewing, interpreting and storing the evidence, the amazing technology that has and is being developed at a very rapid pace will be useless here. Another win for the monsters and their enablers.



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