Case 3: A late night intruder

Hana woke in the night to find an intruder looming over her. She managed to fight the intruder off.  As it was dark, she is unable to describe the intruder, other than that he was male. There were no witnesses. However, when Hana fought off the intruder she scratched him. Detective Jess is able to take fingernail clippings from Hana and send these to ESR.

ESR forensic scientists analyse the fingernail clippings and generate a DNA profile. The scientists compare this DNA profile to the profiles on the National DNA Profile Databank and the Temporary Databank. However, there is no match. Detective Jess then follows up all possible leads but with no success.

sione-dnaDetective Jess remembers that there might a new tool she can use: ESR and Police have recently developed a protocol that permits ESR to examine DNA samples from crime scenes to work out the likely ethnicity of a potential offender. This is just for serious cases, as a last resort where there are no other leads.  Detective Jess gets ESR to conduct analysis on the DNA sample for ethnicity. ESR works out that the intruder is likely to be a male Polynesian.

Sione is living in a backpackers nearby. He and other Polynesian males might now be the subject of police investigations.

Should ESR be able to analyse DNA samples that are found at crime scenes to find out the ethnicity or other genetic characteristics of the DNA owner?

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