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DNA sample helps build a facial image

A recent Forensic Science breakthrough is making DNA evidence found at crime scenes even more useful.

The new process is called Molecular Photofitting. It requires an analysis of a collection of genes that define facial features, so a special computer system can process the data and generate an image.

Police photo of Derrick Todd Lee Computer generated police image The technology is already helping detectives solve cases, and it is being attributed to the arrest and conviction of the Baton Rouge serial killer, Derrick Todd Lee. 

 The Federal Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice funds forensic DNA research and development through government grants.

In hopes of making this technology more effective, Pennsylvania State University biological anthropologist Mark D. Shriver and his team are focusing on genetic analysis and three-dimensional facial mapping techniques.

For the total geek: The GenomeWeb News has more on Shriver's genetic studies.

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