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No Genes Allowed

He would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you meddling kids.

He would have gotten away with it, if it was not for your meddling DNA. It has been heavily improving the law enforcement role. Forensic scientists have gone from collecting only evidence to now collecting DNA-matching suspects through their families. More reasons why this new technology has become important: because it could put an end to cold cases, cause fear in others for them not to commit crimes, and it could help the victims of families get the closure they need.

Example of fingerprinting and electro gel phoresis, computer CODIS, and how DNA has changed with technology.

Scientists would insert DNA from a victim and suspects into a gel, and then put electricity on them. The DNA would move down the notches, and if they match the DNA found through a victim, or a crime scene, then you have the person who most likely committed the crime. Usually that only works when you have suspects in custody, because to test their DNA, they would have to give it to the investigators. Fingerprints only work if the suspect's fingerprints were in CODIS. CODIS is the computer system that stores DNA and data on a specific person. But in order for their fingerprints to be in CODIS, the perpetrator had to have committed a crime before. If this had been a first-time offender, there would be no catching the bad guy.

Back when DNA had just been found and used in crime scenes, officers once collected data using Q-Tips on a series of robberies and murders. In 1993, a 62-year-old was found dead in her home. The DNA found in her house was concluded to belong to a woman... Eight years later a 61-year-old was also found strangled. DNA found off of a door handle matched the DNA found in the home of the first murder. In 2007 two people jumped into the back of a police car, and fatally shot a 22-year-old woman. Strangely enough, the DNA from those two suspects also matched the 2 other crime scenes. Now the recent victim, since it had been a police officer, launched a huge investigation. They found this suspect's DNA on almost everything, from stolen cars to biscuits left abandoned near crime scenes. But no one was found. One day officers decided to look into a cold case of a burned body found in 2002. Her DNA matched all of those left in the crime scenes. They ended up linking the DNA to a factory worker who worked where they made the Q-Tips that crime scene investigators were using to collecting data. Turns out when working, her skin particles, sweat, and saliva contaminated the batch of DNA collectors, which caused her DNA to be found in every crime scene.

Genetic genealogy rose as a new form of DNA processing. It has become used mainly by websites such as 23andme, GEDmatch, and Ancestry. These sites use genetics found in your DNA, and genealogical methods to link family trees together. In order to be a part of this testing, you would need to signup/order the kit, and it would be delivered to your house. Each test could have a different receiver method, but the tests usually range from spitting in a test tube to using a cotton swab on your cheek, and sending in the data. After a few weeks you either get a letter, or an email, stating that the results have come in, and you can look at them... One interesting thing about these sites, when the test results come back, they give you warnings. Multiple warnings. The warnings all say the same thing though, ‘there may be secrets you do not know about,’ ‘do not click if you can not handle this information,’ and a personal favorite, ‘Hey! You may have immediate family that no one knows existed, proceed with caution.’

This form of DNA processing can have negative and positive effects on the law enforcement world. It could help the officers solve decades old cold cases, in which no one could find their DNA in CODIS. CODIS stands for the Combined DNA Index System. The computer stores the DNA given by criminals. They store little DNA sequences, which can be given partial matches, but not full DNA matches. This reason, can contribute to those who got arrested, falsely accused, and wrongfully incarcerated.

The negative aspect of genetic genealogy for law enforcement officers: In order to use the results from the ancestry websites, the officers would have to track down those who gave up their DNA, and ask their consent to use the data. Arguments have been made surrounding the use of the data. Since the DNA was given willingly, then law enforcement should be able to use it. Most people turn a blind eye against DNA found in a crime scene such as, hair, fingernail clippings, or cigarette butts, but when it comes to DNA given, it makes a whole new ordeal. Those who become skeptical about the companies keeping the DNA, should not be worried. In the terms and conditions, a clause was written with ways you could contact the company to get the physical DNA destroyed, or even the results itself.

For some crimes that law enforcement officers have been using 23andMe, and other genetic websites, and have really only been using it for petty crimes like credit card fraud.The only big criminal that has been caught using genetic genealogy is the golden state killer. So far all the perpetrators that have been caught for crimes using genetic genealogy has been in about 31 cases.

Law enforcement officers have been using genetic genealogy to solve crimes. The only reason why the technology has become mainstream, is because of the arrest of the Golden State Killer. The Golden State Killer is a man whose crimes spanned from about 1974 to 1986; he had burglarized more than 100 homes, committed more than 50 rapes, and killed at least 13 people. The police department decided to take the DNA from rape kits done to the victims and upload it to GEDmatch. They ended up finding distant relatives of the killer, and constructed a family tree of the families to see if they could get a match. They had two suspects, but one was ruled out, because his DNA did not match the ones in the crime scenes. When they had one suspect that they thought could be the killer, the investigators ended up taking DNA samples from trash and his car, and it matched the rape kits taken by the victims. Thus, leading into the opening of the cold cases, and then the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo.

It also has been used to reunite families that have never met each other. A friend of mine thought she was an only child, and proceeded to use one of the ancestry websites to find out who her father was. She then found out she had 23 siblings! Most of the siblings were around her age, and she recently got in contact with about four of them.

With the topic of reuniting families recently on the news, multiple cases of families being reunited has skyrocketed since the websites first came out. A pair of siblings that did not know they were related met each other for the first time in 70 years. Recently, another family wanted to learn about their backgrounds, and found out that their father had three other siblings he had no idea were alive. The father ended up meeting the siblings he did not know he had, but all of them could not get in contact with their sister.

This new technology, once expanded upon more, can be used to reopen cold cases, and hopefully solve all the deaths that had occurred. So far, this technology has done a good job of reuniting the families that want to be found. In the case of recent events with the immigrant children being separated from their parents, or the children given away because a country was at war, this would be a good way of helping the families relocate each other.