Genealogical DNA - Solving Cases

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Genetic or forensic genealogy combines direct-to-consumer DNA tests — like those purchased through 23andMe or Ancestry.com — with the age-old hobby of tracing a family tree with public records, such as birth certificates and land deeds.

The technique relies on the simple principle that, if you go back far enough in history, everyone is related, and therefore has thousands of relatives. Assuming that an average family has 2 to 3 kids, then a typical person would — statistically speaking — have nearly 200 third cousins, 950 fourth cousins and 4,700 fifth cousins.

If a genealogist can find a cousin of an unknown suspect who has left behind DNA at a crime scene, then they can use old school family trees — sometimes literally drawn on paper or whiteboards — to track down the perp.

That’s how the Golden State Killer and about 70 other suspects behind brutal cold cases — rapes, murders, and assaults — have been caught since April 2018

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