Genetic Tests May Help Track Unknown Criminals by Hair
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- DNA can be used to
determine the hair color of an unknown criminal who is being sought
by police, Dutch researchers report.
They found that DNA is about 90 percent accurate in determining
whether a person has red hair or black hair, and about 80 percent
accurate for blond or brown hair. The necessary DNA can be taken
from blood, sperm, saliva or other biological evidence collected by
The study appears in the current issue of
"That we are now making it possible to predict different hair colors from DNA represents a major breakthrough because, so far, only red hair color, which is rare, could be estimated from DNA," study leader Professor Manfred Kayser, chairman of the forensic molecular biology department at Erasmus Medical College in Rotterdam, said in a journal news release.
"For our research, we made use of the DNA and hair color information of hundreds of Europeans and investigated genes previously known to influence the differences in hair color. We identified 13 DNA markers from 11 genes that are informative to predict a person's hair color," he said.
This breakthrough could soon lead to a validated DNA test for
hair color, said Ate Kloosterman, of the Netherlands Forensic
"This new development results in an important expansion of the future DNA toolkit used by forensic investigators to track down unknown offenders," he said in the same news release.
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