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Bite marks shouldn’t be used to convict criminals, report finds

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report that declared that the matching of bite marks in forensics is not scientifically valid, The Washington Post reports. The report questions how unique each bite mark pattern is and notes that no one can be sure how many sets of teeth can make the same mark. If bite mark evidence were invalidated, some prisoners would go free (both guilty and wrongly convicted), but no court is obligated to adopt the PCAST recommendations. Meanwhile, The Washington Post also reports a new potential method of forensic analysis using hair that examines precise mutations in proteins instead of DNA. From 66 people of various backgrounds and ages, scientists found that each of their protein sequences were unique, as they reported in PLOS ONE yesterday. With further study, protein analysis could join DNA analysis to provide clear evidence in forensics, perhaps replacing subjective analyses like bite marks.