About 60 percent of the U.S. population with European heritage may be identifiable from their DNA by searching consumer websites, even if they’ve never made their own genetic information available, a study estimates.
And that number will grow as more and more people upload their DNA profiles to websites that use genetic analysis to find relatives, said the authors of the study released Thursday by the journal Science.
The use of such databases for criminal investigations made headlines in April, when authorities announced they’d used a genetic genealogy website to connect some crime-scene DNA to a man they then accused of being the so-called Golden State Killer, a serial rapist and murderer.
So what’s the latest with this new study? And how exactly does this technique work to track down a suspect based on DNA evidence? We discuss with New York Times science reporter Heather Murphy, who has been covering the evolution of genetic genealogy and its use by law enforcement for the last five months, ever since the Golden State Killer case breakthrough.
With files from the Associated Press.