This awardee has received supplemental funding. This award detail page includes information about both the original award and supplemental awards.
Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $37,788)
As submitted by the proposer: An Investigation into the genetic basis of human facial morphology and its prediction from DNA, using a globally distributed panel of individuals from the US and Europe. While a variety of tools aid law enforcement agencies in their investigations, no tool exists that can draw a portrait of a suspect from a DNA sample left behind at a crime scene. If such a tool were developed, then it would help bridge the gap between current methods of DNA profiling, which involves screening samples collected at a crime scene against the genetic profiles compiled in national databases such as NDIS or CODIS, and the emerging practice of Forensic DNA Phenotyping for intelligence. The tool would be instrumental in helping to identify suspects that are not in genetic databases, missing persons or victims of natural disasters, and can also provide new leads for cold cases. Also, in relation to current efforts in the correlation of genotypes with phenotypes in traits such as eye, hair or skin color for example, there is a remarkably small amount of research being conducted on the complex genetic interactions that affect facial morphology. Thus, the goal of this research is to perform fundamental genetic analyses to identify novel genes associated with facial morphology by correlating these variants with physical appearance measurements from a database resource of >5000 individuals from multiple populations within Europe and the US. Firstly, phenotype data of 2D digital imagery will be compiled, processed, and analyzed for landmark features, including continuous and categorical parameters. Secondly, fundamental research on phenotype-genotype correlations shall be assessed using GWAS techniques for example, and a list of potential facial feature DNA predictors shall be compiled. Lastly, the final goal of this project is to translate fundamental research into practice via a final computer application and online prediction tool, to aid forensic investigators in the prediction of facial features from DNA left at a crime scene. This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).