Policy and regulatory implications of the new frontier of forensic genomics

Direct-to-consumer genetic data and genealogy records

Nathan SCUDDER, Dennis MCNEVIN, Sally KELTY, Christine Funk, Simon WALSH, James ROBERTSON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Law enforcement is moving from targeted forensic DNA analysis to more extensive use of genomics in support of criminal investigations and for related purposes, such as the identification of human remains. The field of forensic genomics is data-driven and will continue to evolve as new capabilities are developed and new datasets are made accessible. Intelligence capabilities using forensic genomics include the prediction of externally visible characteristics and biogeographical ancestry, and the relatively new field of forensic genetic genealogy. This technique expands these capabilities by accessing public genetic datasets to identify potential relatives of the donor of DNA relating to an investigation. This exploitation of public datasets poses a range of ethical, legal and privacy challenges. The extended reach of these techniques expands these issues to entire families, across multiple jurisdictions. These legal challenges increase as attention turns to much larger, but less accessible, genetic data held by direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy providers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalCurrent Issues in Criminal Justice
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019


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