Criminals can expect bad-hair days with DNA color tracking

With DNA-based convictions and exonerations becoming more common, replacing often-flawed eyewitness testimony, crime fighters will soon have another genetics-based tool at their disposal: a test to accurately predict a perp's hair color. Researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam say it is possible to test DNA from blood, sperm, saliva or other biological materials and be 90 percent certain a subject has red or black hair, and 80 percent sure he or she has blond or brown hair.

The research, published in the Springer journal Human Genetics, identifies 13 markers from 11 genes. It is an improvement over existing DNA technology that previously only had a thing for redheads

"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.

Popular Science, however, decides to split some hairs with the observation: "Apparently these guys are unfamiliar with hair dye."

- check out the Erasmus Medical Center release
- comb through the PopSci report
- and brush by UPI's story