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Social and Ethical Implications

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Assignment 3: Social and Ethical Implications

Velvet Brown

November 19, 2018, 2018

Phenotyping can be useful in law enforcement.  It can be a key asset in solving crimes especially murders and cold case files.  There are pros and cons to using this method. Phenotyping has already been used in some cases to help identify both victim and suspect.   Police used phenotyping in a case to identify a suspect in 2016.  Chanel Lewis was a suspect in the murder of Queens jogger Karina Vetrano.  He was identify using phenotyping. He left DNA on the victim and the police department used this to make a profile of the suspect in which he was eventually caught. Phenotyping can have a good effect on our community.  There are millions of police cases that need to be solve.  Phenotyping can help with these unsolved cases.  This science can help to identify bodies or bones that police do not know who they are.  This can help bring closure to families that have missing persons.  In addition, geneticists hope that one day phenotyping will help doctor to identify genetic diseases by scanning a patient face. This can be helpful with people having babies and knowing what gene diseases they may be acceptable to.

Some scientists believe there are some cons in using phenotyping in criminal investigations.  Phenotyping could cause investigators, when it comes to suspects, to go after the wrong suspects and waste time based on a predicted facial structure of a suspect.  Robert Perry, the legislative director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said “The problem is, its use will place actual people, innocent of wrongdoing, under criminal suspicion without any basis They may become an unnecessary suspect and have their lives disrupted for no reason.  There is also controversy among scientists about the use of phenotyping and how accurate it can be.  A paper was published by a geneticist who said he was able to identity people’s face that where not known to him by sequencing their genes.  It was said that he overstated what was achieved with his research.  Despite these debates on DNA phenotyping, criminal investigators are still willing to use it in helping to solve cases in which they have exhausted all leads in identifying the victim.  

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