Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Hosted by Larry Mantle
Airs Weekdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Study says most people with European ancestry can be identified via genealogy databases – what are the implications for law enforcement and privacy?




393282 04: A digital representation of the human genome August 15, 2001 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Each color represents one the four chemical compenents of DNA.
393282 04: A digital representation of the human genome August 15, 2001 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Each color represents one the four chemical compenents of DNA.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Listen to story

07:08
Download this story 3.0MB

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.

Guest:

Heather Murphy, science reporter for the New York Times who’s been following this story; she tweets @heathertal