US Army Crime Lab enters the realm of “personal DNA” sequencing looking for hair an eye color

Battele Inc’s research leader used to run the FBI DNA nuclear DNA unit. Now his company is coming into the big game of identifying human physical traits from genomic DNA “markers” (ie.e alleles) not used in current criminal science systems.

Having received a $880K grant from the NIJ, this company announces that the US military’s forensic center (ex CID crime lab) has signed on to purchase their EactID methods.

Now thats a name worth copyrighting. “exact’ is gold in the forensic business. They do have decades of legitimate DNA progression to rely upon. This is not unlike medical researchers searching the entire human genome for disease creating genetic sequences.

“ExactID provides the information needed to determine specific, identifying traits — such as hair and eye color, race, who a person may be related to, where they may live — from an unmatched DNA sample. This has not been possible before.”

Thus the company has entered the “personal genetic trait” business much like labs connected with Ancestry.com, deCODEme, and Family Tree DNA.

Their full pr article.

Battele is urging other law enforcement to join up. But I’m curious about implementation as their pr blog says this “As use and reliance on the data produced by ExactID increases, Battelle experts expect other law enforcement agencies to adopt it in their investigations.”

It appears that the US Army will be a “proving ground” for this company’s product.  That means the rules of evidence regarding this product’s accuracy rate, error rate, etc., will be reviewed by the military UCMJ rules and a very limited case history on admitting expert testimony. Seems problematic to me regarding “next generation” DNA sequencing (Battele’s phraseology) as the military courts are weak on “new science” the admissibility front.

 

 

About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
This entry was posted in Crime, CSI, DNA profiling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to US Army Crime Lab enters the realm of “personal DNA” sequencing looking for hair an eye color

  1. John Lentini says:

    This is using forensic science in its investigatory role, as opposed to its prosecutorial role. If DNA markers from a scene can tell you that you’re looking for a tall white man with red hair and blue eyes, that’s a clue. When you find such a person, then you can run his DNA against the scene DNA. Error rates don’t mean much in this scenario. Either the technique works or it doesn’t. it’s unlikely that it will be introduced in court.

  2. Mark Bond says:

    Reblogged this on e-Roll Call Magazine.

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