Ethics and Privacy Risks in DNA Familial Searches

To Catch A Criminal


Amateur genealogists use popular genealogy websites such as MyHeritage, 23andMe, and Ancestry to sleuth out familial DNA matches, unearthing connections to long-lost cousins, coloring in spotty family trees, and discovering ancestral origins in far-off lands.

Recently, however, as police departments have turned to commercial genealogy websites to trace anonymous crime scene DNA to suspects and secure convictions, these sites have unwittingly turned eager DNA hobbyists into genetic informants.