Breakthrough: Culprit’s DNA can be used to predict probable hair colour

January 4th, 2011 - 12:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 4 (ANI): Scientists have found that DNA extracted from a person’s blood, sperm, saliva or other biological materials can be used to predict people’s probable hair colour.

The approach allows them to differentiate between hair colours that are similar, for example, between red and reddish blond, or between blond and dark blond hair.

“That we are now making it possible to predict different hair colours from DNA represents a major breakthrough because, so far, only red hair colour, which is rare, could be estimated from DNA,” said Prof. Manfred Kayser, Chair of the Department of Forensic Molecular Biology at Erasmus MC.

“We identified 13 ‘DNA markers’ from 11 genes that are informative to predict a person’s hair colour,” he added.

“This new development results in an important expansion of the future DNA toolkit used by forensic investigators to track down unknown offenders,” said Prof. Ate Kloosterman of the Department of Human Biological Traces at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI).

The current study was directed at the predictability of the colour of the hair on the head. Further research would be necessary to predict the colour of body hair.

The findings will be published today in the Springer journal Human Genetics. (ANI)

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