Genetic Genealogy and its Use in Criminal Investigations: Are We Heading Towards a Universal Genetic Database?

Emily Plemel


In April 2018, Joseph DeAngelo also known as The Golden State Killer was caught and convicted. This was made possible by 40-year-old DNA evidence, genetic genealogy, and current information systems technology. This paper will discuss the history of genetic information such as DNA testing used in forensics, and consider information technologies effect on the future of criminal investigations. The main focus is genetic databases and their management. How will the management of these databases affect the public and law enforcement? Could a universal genetic database create solutions to the current criminal database systems, often critiqued for being discriminatory? How can we use genetic genealogy more efficiently to solve crimes?  The sources used for this exploration include companies such as GEDmatch, 23andME, and Ancestry; key players of the field such as Barbara Rae Venter and CeCe Moore; newspaper articles, statistics, and academic journals.


DNA, genetic genealogy, cold-case, crime solving, forensic investigation, genetic database, information management, universal database

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