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Health

Genetic profiling: CSI edition

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJanuary 23, 2012 10:09 AM

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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?

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