UK scientists try to link DNA evidence from a crime scene to the surname of the perpetrator

Forensic scientists of the UK Forensic Science Service are developing a method of linking DNA evidence from a crime scene to the surname of the perpetrator.

The concept is that men with matching surnames are also likely to have matching Y chromosomes. Female can go on misbeheaving as they have no Y chromosome.


However, Mark Jobling, a DNA fingerprinting expert, believes that practical complications could make surname-matching inaccurate.

First, some surnames have multiple origins, and will therefore be linked to numerous Y chromosomes.

Then Y chromosomes will not always be inherited along with a surname(in case of illegitimacy, when someone takes their mother’s name, or because they are adopted.)

But the UK’s National DNA Database now holds over one million DNA samples. And data is being added to it at an increasing rate, after the UK government changed the law in 2004 to allow DNA samples to be taken from people who have been arrested (even if it turns out afterwards that they were innocent) as well as those who are charged or convicted with a crime.

Genetic evidence can already be used to identify a suspect through a family member. In April 2004, this method allowed to secure the conviction of a killer traced through a close relative’s DNA.

Via New Scientist and Eyebeam reBlog.

See also: Operation Gobstopper.