DNA technology has made incredible advancements over the years. With DNA phenotyping, police can solve cases that have gone cold for years. DNA phenotyping can predict what a victim’s or suspect’s face could look like from a single drop of blood.
Last summer, a group of hikers stumbled upon the skeleton of a female victim alongside a Baltimore highway. Cops were unable to identify the body for several months. Then, police came across DNA phenotyping technology, which allowed them to generate a picture of the female victim using a very small sample of her DNA. With that image, police could accurately identify the victim and proceed to arrest her assassin.
In New Mexico, authorities were able to find a man who had assaulted a 17-year-old woman with a composite image formed from a single drop of his blood. He was condemned to an 18-year prison sentence. Parabon NanoLabs, a company that provides DNA phenotyping, has been providing this service to police since 2015. The technology costs $3,000 per composite image and has helped solve more than 40 cases.
Dr. Ellen Greytak of Parabon NanoLabs told CNN Business that “in a lot of the cases we work, it turns out that the police had some information that was leading them in a particular direction, and our information completely redirects.”
Although DNA phenotyping cannot identify a person’s age or convict a criminal on its own, it can still help cops crack active cases and solve cold cases. “Cases won’t have to go cold,” said Greytak.