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A Bar Code, Indicted

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that when the true name of a suspect — identified by a DNA profile and the name "John Doe" on an indictment — is determined, that suspect can be prosecuted, even after the statue of limitations has passed, reports The Boston Globe. In the ruling, the justices said that a DNA profile is an "indelible 'bar code' that labels an individual's identity with nearly irrefutable precision." In that way, the court says that indictment differs from a John Doe indictment that lacks a DNA identifier. "Unlike the general John Doe indictment . . . an indictment of a person identified by a DNA profile accuses a singular and ascertained, but simply unnamed individual," wrote Justice Robert Cordy.

In this case, the suspect's identity was determined when he was incarcerated for an unrelated crime and gave a DNA sample, as the Globe notes is required of all state prisoners. However, it raises the question of anonymity and privacy in other, non-governmental DNA databases, such as ones of patients, that police could also draw from to find matches.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.