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GENEALOGY SITES AND THE WARMING OF COLD CASES The Revolution in Forensic Science Continues to Captivate the Masses
We’ve come a long way in the field of forensic science since 1986, when DNA was first used to convict someone in court. In 2019, criminals who would have gotten away with their crimes in the past are now put behind bars where they belong. The advent of genealogy testing has been thrust into the spotlight with high- profile cases that were solved by sequestering information from sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com. With this revolution in DNA testing on the rise, there’s really no end to the impossible-to-solve cold cases that can finally be put to rest. Whatever the motivation was behind genealogy sites in the beginning, they’re now some of the most sought-after databases in the world and are worth billions for their collection of the most personal consumer data in existence. Using these websites’ data, investigators can make DNA matches with potential offenders. The most famous recent case is the successful apprehension of Joseph James DeAngelo, otherwise known as the Golden State Killer.
After 13 murders and dozens of assaults, he was finally brought to justice after investigators matched his DNA to the evidence found at the crime scenes. They gained access to his DNA from the personal genomics site GEDmatch.
to its customers, law enforcement agencies successfully subpoenaed the companies to hand over the requested data. With the ability to theoretically solve any crime with preserved DNA, law enforcement and websleuths alike are foaming at the mouth at the possibilities genealogy testing has to offer. If only we’d preserved some of Jack the Ripper’s DNA!
Although access to the data of popular sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com is restricted
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