DNA data can also be used to derive information about external characteristics such as eye and hair colour. This method, known as DNA phenotyping, can provide clues for police investigations. In an interdisciplinary study that IHS is part of, TA-SWISS has examined the technical, legal and social issues arising from the new analysis options.
The TA-SWISS study shows that the line between lifestyle and medical genetic testing is fluid. Medical statements can also be derived from lifestyle genetic tests, for example by re-analysing the data. The legal situation must therefore be designed in such a way that personal data are adequately protected, but the persons tested receive the information relevant to them.
Forensic applications focus on the search for suspected criminals. DNA phenotyping can be a useful tool in the investigation - however, it is not possible to create a phantom image based on DNA analysis. The legislator has to weigh up the protection of personal rights against the benefits of solving serious criminal cases.
Alexander Lang from the IHS research group Techno-Science and Societal Transformation coordinated the TA-SWISS study and will present the results of the study on November 24 together with other project members. The presentation will be recorded and also broadcast live on the TA-Swiss website. The livestream can also be accessed directly at their YouTube-Channel.
The ebook can be found in the IHS’ institutional repository IRIHS.