Numbers Don't Lie

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Your DNA spell out your last name

A swipe of blood, semen, saliva or any other DNA-carrying bodily evidence at a crime scene can help implicate a suspect- if the police have one handy. But if there’s no one under suspicion, the DNA is largely useless.
Now researchers at the University of Leicester and the University of Essex in the UK have developed a method for linking genetic material to a last name. Here is the rational - the Y chromosome DNA, which determines maleness, is paternally inherited, just like most surnames in England. So, the scientists tested for Y chromosome DNA similarity among men with the same last name.
For some popular names such as Smith, researcher said they could predict a man's surname using his DNA data with 20% of accuracy; for names that are less popular, being in the bottom 80% of the regularity spectrum, they could up their success rate to about a 33% of the time. Not bad at all.
In the future, if the police go to a crime scene, got the DNA, they can analyze the Y-chromosome DNA, put it in this database and see what surnames it brings up. It might let police prioritize the suspect list - in UK, at least.



Blogger Judas said...

Brave new world isn't it. Luck I mostly abide by the law.

7:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is very interesting stuff. Wow, it is becoming a "Brave New World."


10:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is assuming you parents dna is on file...

12:49 PM

Blogger krusty the baker said...

Yeah, they might look at whether they can tell your last name, but first they'll look to see if it tells 'em what colour and religion you are. Because in the UK it is now possible to lock a man up because of his colour and religion. Look around you folks, it's happening.

And all this depends on accurate police records and databases. And in the UK, government databases are notoriously inaccurate. So yes, we're right to be afraid of it, but because it will be used as a means to claim criminal detection, when in fact no such thing is happening.

And just as an aside, more than 40% of British kids are now born 'out of wedlock'. So whether or not there is a list of who your father is could well be debatable.

Rant over!

10:57 AM


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