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May 06, 2010 Reuters
Eye color genes may help forensic investigations

Kate Kelland

Scientists have identified three new genes that determine subtle variations in human eye color -- clues that could help forensic investigators using DNA left at a crime scene to track down criminal suspects.

Researchers from the Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands used a technique called a genome-wide association study, which scans gene maps, to analyze the eye color of about 6,000 Dutch volunteers.

The colors were then digitally quantified and collated using high-resolution photographs of the whole eye, and the scientists found that human eye color varies in many more ways than previously thought.

Previous studies on the genetics of human eye color used broad trait information such as "blue," "green," and "brown," the researchers, led by Manfred Kayser, wrote in the study.

But this study showed that variation in eye color runs in a continuous grading from the lightest blue to the darkest brown.

"These findings are of relevance for future forensic applications where appearance prediction from biological material found at crime scenes may provide investigative leads to trace unknown persons," Kayser said.

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Cases OverviewCases Overview

It is not known how often law enforcement agencies have turned to FDP as part of an attempt to identify an unknown suspect or victim; some reports claim that the method has been used in several hundre ... 

Laws Overview

Is forensic DNA phenotyping regulated?
Few jurisdictions have regulations that specifically address the forensic use of DNA for phenotype prediction. The method is still too new and too infrequently  ... 

Research Overview

We are collecting references for papers, reports, conference presentations, or abstracts that report findings relevant to FDP. Our intent is to periodically publish an annotated bibliography that trac ...