Forensic scientists could use DNA retrieved from a crime scene to predict the surname of the suspect, according to a new British study.

It is not perfect, but could be an important investigative tool when combined with other intelligence.

The method exploits genetic likenesses between men who share the same surname, and may help prioritise inquiries.

Details of the research from the University of Leicester, UK, appear in the latest edition of Current Biology.

Implications - Stat-tracking and data parsing are two emerging business tactics that offer huge benefits to companies willing to take advantage of them. Whether the information is parsed to identify murder suspects, or for the purposes of targeted advertising, companies can benefit from employing these business methods.