Genetic profiling: CSI edition

By Razib Khan | January 22, 2012 11:09 pm

Apparently the national media is reporting that scientific genealogy may result in leads to a cold case. The principle is simple: apparently Y chromosomal material was matched to public genealogy databases. From this the researcher concluded that the perpetrator is probably a male line descendant of Robert Fuller of Salem, Massachusetts. Contrary to the urban legends it does not seem that false paternity rates are much higher than ~1 percent in many societies (for example).

CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger have covered this story in detail, so I won’t go much further in this specific case. But as more and more people get typed and sequenced I suspect that genetic material is going to be more and more “actionable.” What long term effects will this have? Will criminals start taking precautions?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Genetics, Genomics, Personal Genomics
MORE ABOUT: Personal genomics

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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