DNA phenotyping: A possible aid in criminal investigation

Authors: Lirieka Meintjes-van der Walt and Adebola Olaborede

ISSN: 1996-2118
Affiliations: B Juris LLB (UPE) LLM (Rhodes) DJuris (Leiden); Adjunct Professor of Law and Leader of the Law, Science and Justice Research Niche Area, University of Fort Hare; LLB (Nigeria) LLM (Stellenbosch) LLD (UFH); Time on Task Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Fort Hare
Source: South African Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 36 Issue 1, p. 1 – 23


This article examines DNA phenotyping in general and highlights international perspectives regarding the use of this technique. The article interrogates the genetic basis of predicting externally visible characteristics, the potential value of the technique, and the pitfalls regarding its use. Despite the ethical and legal concerns and debates concerning DNA phenotyping, the potential value of this technique should not be underestimated. In the context of the high number of serious crimes such as rape and murder that remain unsolved in South Africa, the responsible and scientific application of DNA phenotyping might prove to be an effective additional tool in criminal investigation.