DNA databases could hinder law enforcement from making matches that relate to murder and missing persons cases

DNA databases could lock out law enforcement from making matches

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - From the identity of “Geauga’s Child” to the name of a woman believed to have been murdered by serial killer Shawn Grate, the science of familial DNA has helped crack a lot of very cold Ohio cases.

A good deal of that is thanks to GEDMatch, a website which law enforcement agencies and their partners can use to connect people to relatives, using DNA.

However, due to a change on the part of GEDMatch, profiles will no longer automatically move to an “opt in” status, which allows law enforcement officials access to people’s DNA records

“People do not understand that they have been opted out automatically, so there are people who have uploaded in the past, specifically for this reason, and now they have to go back and select a new option,” said Amanda Reno, a volunteer with the DNA Doe Project.

DNA Doe Project uses GEDmatch to find familial matches. Because the site recently changed its rules, it now requires people who have previously uploaded their DNA to “opt in” again, allowing the team at DNA Doe Project to continue making genetic matches.

Reno says it's important to take that step if you do want your DNA to help make the connection to unidentified people

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