How very often do we see forensic experts on TV, nab the killer using trace amounts of DNA that were found on the carpet or victim’s clothing? While these actors convincingly make the process seem very simple and quick, it is only the people who work in the area of forensics know how difficult and tedious the entire process is. The trick is not only in getting that little amount of blood/ saliva/ skin sample from the crime scene but also having a sturdy database of DNA markers such as CODIS to compare the results against. Without a database (which, not to forget, takes years of data gathering to make), even with bucket loads of DNA to test, a forensic expert would not be able to link the the suspect to the crime scene.
|Face Model with over 7000 points of reference
Image source: doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004224.g001
Claes P, Liberton DK, Daniels K, Rosana KM, Quillen EE, Pearson LN, McEvoy B, Bauchet M, Zaidi AA, Yao W, Tang H, Barsh GS, Absher DM, Puts DA, Rocha J, Beleza S, Pereira RW, Baynam G, Suetens P, Vandermeulen D, Wagner JK, Boster JS, & Shriver MD (2014). Modeling 3D facial shape from DNA. PLoS genetics, 10 (3) PMID: 24651127