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Review

Predicting Physical Appearance from DNA Data—Towards Genomic Solutions

1
Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
2
Institute of Computer Science, Polish Academy of Sciences, 01-248 Warsaw, Poland
3
Faculty of Mathematics and Information Science, Warsaw University of Technology, 00-662 Warsaw, Poland
4
Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police, 00-583 Warsaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Fulvio Cruciani
Genes 2022, 13(1), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010121
Received: 10 December 2021 / Revised: 3 January 2022 / Accepted: 4 January 2022 / Published: 10 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Forensic Genetics)
The idea of forensic DNA intelligence is to extract from genomic data any information that can help guide the investigation. The clues to the externally visible phenotype are of particular practical importance. The high heritability of the physical phenotype suggests that genetic data can be easily predicted, but this has only become possible with less polygenic traits. The forensic community has developed DNA-based predictive tools by employing a limited number of the most important markers analysed with targeted massive parallel sequencing. The complexity of the genetics of many other appearance phenotypes requires big data coupled with sophisticated machine learning methods to develop accurate genomic predictors. A significant challenge in developing universal genomic predictive methods will be the collection of sufficiently large data sets. These should be created using whole-genome sequencing technology to enable the identification of rare DNA variants implicated in phenotype determination. It is worth noting that the correctness of the forensic sketch generated from the DNA data depends on the inclusion of an age factor. This, however, can be predicted by analysing epigenetic data. An important limitation preventing whole-genome approaches from being commonly used in forensics is the slow progress in the development and implementation of high-throughput, low DNA input sequencing technologies. The example of palaeoanthropology suggests that such methods may possibly be developed in forensics. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical appearance; human genome variation; DNA-based prediction; investigative leads; forensic DNA intelligence; forensic genomics physical appearance; human genome variation; DNA-based prediction; investigative leads; forensic DNA intelligence; forensic genomics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pośpiech, E.; Teisseyre, P.; Mielniczuk, J.; Branicki, W. Predicting Physical Appearance from DNA Data—Towards Genomic Solutions. Genes 2022, 13, 121. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010121

AMA Style

Pośpiech E, Teisseyre P, Mielniczuk J, Branicki W. Predicting Physical Appearance from DNA Data—Towards Genomic Solutions. Genes. 2022; 13(1):121. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010121

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pośpiech, Ewelina, Paweł Teisseyre, Jan Mielniczuk, and Wojciech Branicki. 2022. "Predicting Physical Appearance from DNA Data—Towards Genomic Solutions" Genes 13, no. 1: 121. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010121

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