DNA helping solving crime


TAYLORSVILLE — Personal DNA testing is becoming more popular than it ever has been. 23 and Me and Ancestry DNA, are some of the most popular DNA test kits available online, but how do these kits work and how is a simple sample of saliva helping fight crime?

“Genealogy is developing a family tree. So if you got a crime scene sample…you can take that crime scene sample, and then you develop a tree, and then from that tree you try to reconstruct a family tree where that person might be…you can gather name and locations. That evidence is submitted to the laboratory. And then we will identify the bodily fluids, then cut those samples and put them into a process where we extract the DNA and develop a DNA profile,” said Jay Henry, Laboratory Director of Utah Department of Public Safety.

Thousands of DNA profiles are then submitted to a database managed by the FBI and other local state authorities.  Once that DNA profile is in the database; it’s only a matter of time until that suspected criminal could be caught.

“Once you put those samples into the database, it’s always constantly searching. We don’t have a suspect or person of interest to look at initially, then we put it in the codex database and hopefully that will resolve the case,” said Henry.

Numbers of cold cases have been solved thanks to genealogy DNA testing due to its extreme accuracy.

“The DNA is the objective unbiased fact finder. Investigators, prosecutors, the whole criminal justice system relies on the DNA test to get the right results,” said Henry.  

Genealogy DNA testing has widened the possibilities of catching suspects of a crime and it’s helping solve cases faster than ever before. 

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