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May 15th, 2006

Expanding DNA Collection

These two men, Frederick R. Bieber, a medical geneticist:


And Charles H. Brenner, a forensic mathematician:


… led a study which found that we’d find more bad guys if we start collecting the DNA profiles of relatives of known criminals.

From a Washington Post article by Rick Weiss about the study:

“In one recent case, for example, a specimen from a 1988 murder scene was found to have a DNA pattern similar to that of a 14-year-old boy whose DNA was on file with the police. Investigators obtained a sample from the teenager’s uncle, which perfectly matched the crime scene specimen and led to his conviction.”

I want to catch murderers as much as the next guy, but I don’t know. What are the dangers of misuse here, and what controls could be put into place to mitigate them?

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