Unknown perpetrators of crime cannot be identified with the current forensic use of DNA. The VISAGE Project aims to overcome this major limitation by developing, validating, and implementing in the relevant forensic DNA service environment a set of prototype tools for predicting appearance, age, and ancestry in as much detail and as accurately, and effectively as possible from DNA traces. This VISAGE Toolkit will allow the construction of composite sketches of unknown trace donors directly from their crime scene traces, which will guide and focus criminal investigations towards finding them. The VISAGE Toolkit will include analysis prototype tools based on massively parallel sequencing for genotyping the large number of DNA predictors for appearance, age, and ancestry established within the Project, as well as an integrated statistical framework with prototype software for translating these genotype data into statistical probabilities on appearance, age and ancestry, which represents the intelligence information finally used for guiding criminal investigations towards the most probable group of suspects. The VISAGE Toolkit will consider ethical, societal, and legal dimensions of Forensic DNA Phenotyping as identified within the Project, by applying a privacy-by-design strategy. The interdisciplinary VISAGE Consortium includes European (and global) scientific leaders in Forensic DNA Phenotyping as well as in forensic massively parallel sequencing, leading European forensic DNA service providers, and one of the leading social scientists in the field of forensic DNA analysis, ensuring that the Project goals will be achieved on time. The outcome of the VISAGE Project will have a major impact on solving more crimes more rapidly by providing previously unused intelligence information from trace DNA to find unknown perpetrators, which will lead to reduced impact on victims, reduced societal distress, preventing miscarriages of justice, thereby avoiding unnecessary costs.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeRIA - Research and Innovation action