As we debate whether our Facebook friends have the right to share information about us with the apps they use, how about this new question: Can your relatives share fragments of your DNA with 3rd parties and public databases?
“The fact that detectives used commercial DNA and genealogy websites to catch a suspected serial killer from 42 years ago — after the federal criminal DNA database failed to yield results — is revelatory, said Ruth Dickover, director of UC Davis’ forensic science program.
“This was a shot in the dark, definitely,” Dickover said, “If that’s what they did, that approach is very new and innovative and explains how they were able to crack a case when the more traditional types of DNA testing couldn’t.”
“GEDmatch is a crowdsourcing website where the public can submit DNA and genealogy screening results they may have received from other sites such as 23AndMe and Ancestry and cross-reference those findings with other collected data for a more complete picture of their genetic background.
A relative of the suspected killer must have submitted their DNA to one of the sites at some point for authorities to have been able to use it and find him, Dickover said.”