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Using a DNA sample to predict an unknown person’s appearance is a relatively new technology and goes by several names:  forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP), visual trait prediction, ethnic inference, and molecular photofitting.  News accounts of cases in which FDP has been used often describe the method in vague terms.  Thus, it’s difficult to track the use of this new technology.  One of the goals of this project is to collect information about FDP and organize it in one easy-to-use place.  Below you will find links to discussions of criminal cases in which FDP has been used, a survey of the legal environment surrounding the use of FDP, and links to academic research on or about FDP.

If you know of additional resources about FDP not included on this website, please let us know! You may use the Contribute button located on any page.

Choose a resources section to explore:

Descriptions of criminal cases in which FDP has been used in an attempt to identify a suspect.
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An overview of the legislation about FDP. Read More
An overview of academic research about FDP.
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How can you participate?

To help examine the potential benefits and problems associated with using genetic identification technologies in law enforcement, the Forensic DNA Ethics project is actively seeking the participation  ... 

Contribute Materials

If you know of a case in which forensic DNA phenotyping was used other than those included on our site, please tell us about it!


We have an active program of surveys designed to gather data on current practices in forensic science education and law enforcement.  Many of these surveys are by invitation only, although public ... 

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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 ...