‘Gamechanger’: The seek for 1000’s of lacking individuals instances

Are you one of many people who have sent DNA to one of these public genealogy websites to keep track of your family tree? These databases could hold the simple key to solving missing persons mysteries.

Associate Professor Dr. Jodie Ward, director of the AFP’s National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing People, said this could be a “game changer” to link unidentified people to missing person cases.

We routinely upload DNA from the remains to our national law enforcement databases to find a match, ”she told Liam Bartlett.

“We have thousands of relative samples from missing persons.

“However, if we don’t find a match across the country, we hope to upload this DNA to these public DNA websites that will allow law enforcement to try to connect with distant relatives.

“It’s something we’ve never done before.”

This is already happening in the USA, where cases such as the “Golden State Killer” have been solved by the police using public DNA databases.

However, the technology raises ethical and privacy concerns. Dr. Ward said it was an “opt-in” approach for people using these websites.

“We hope to be able to link the deceased’s DNA to living people,” she said.

“The program conducted a comprehensive review of privacy concerns so we can minimize the impact.

“When someone uploads their DNA, everything that could happen to the DNA is explained to them.

“It’s a voluntary process.”

There are currently only three genealogical databases that allow law enforcement to search DNA through this opt-in approach.

National Missing Persons Week begins this Sunday. This annual action week aims to raise awareness of the important issues relating to missing people. The week is also used to profile long-term missing people and educate the Australian community.

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(Photo credit: iStock by Getty)

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