Suspect Sketches from DNA

So many possible ethical dilemmas, my head is spinning! 

When I read this article (DNA technology can create unbelievable suspect sketches. Here’s why that should scare you.) about how a DNA sample could be used to create a sketch of a suspect and when the final sketches looked eerily similar to the person who gave the DNA sample, I could not stop thinking about the possibilities for a script! It does make sense given the fact that your DNA holds the blueprints for everything about you from the color of your eyes, the shape of your nose and your height but this research made me think of things that I never thought of before.

This means that all investigators need is DNA evidence. They don’t need a witness or even for someone to choose the suspect from a lineup. One hair, drop of blood or flake of skin and the police could create a suspect sketch.

What if you looked like the sketch and didn’t have an air-tight alibi, could you be consider a suspect? Even if your DNA didn’t match, could you be wrongfully convicted using this technology? 


What about when crimes are committed in public places where there are a lot of people (and DNA) floating around — what are the chances of someone being falsely identified and named a suspect because their DNA was at a crime scene?


What about a story involving identical twins? Their DNA is an exact match. How would you figure our which twin committed the crime?


Have you ever heard about chimeras? A chimera is an organism that has two different sets of DNA (this usually happens as the result of 2 different fertilized eggs fusing together). There was a famous story of Mrs. McK, who had two different blood types. I remember watching a TV program about chimeras where a woman had to have a witness when she gave birth to her baby and someone had to draw her blood and her baby’s blood right after he was born to prove that she was the biological mother. The doctor explained that the mother’s DNA looked more like what you would expect from an aunt.

Who wants to talk more about how you can use this idea in your current or next story? 

[Credit: Shriver, Claes; Penn State]

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