Can DNA "Witness" Race?

Professor Fullwiley in the field at the Laboratoire de Biologie Mol├ęculaire, LBV CHU, Aristide Le Dantec Hospital in Dakar, Senegal working on a collaborative sickle cell trait study. 2006.

In her article, "Can DNA 'Witness' Race?: Forensic Uses of an Imperfect Ancestry Testing Technology," Duana Fullwiley, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of African and African American Studies, questions law enforcement's use of the so-called "DNA Witness" technology.

The inventors of "DNA Witness" claim that their method can identify the race of a suspect based on a comparison of DNA from a crime scene with a set of genetic markers thought to be associated with ancestry.

Prof. Fullwiley "examine[s] the use of DNAWitness to determine the prospective race of a suspect in order to provide evidence to law enforcement for narrowing a suspect pool." She further argues that "DNAWitness falls short of legal and scientific standards for trial admissibility and eludes certain legal logic concerning the use of racial categories in interpreting DNA."

You can find a complete listing of Prof. Fullwiley's articles in DASH here.