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When a distant relative of the suspected Golden State Killer shared their genetic data with the genealogical site GEDMatch, that person almost certainly never imagined that DNA from the sample would be used in a police investigation.

In fact, as consumer testing of DNA proliferates, few people likely consider the possible legal implications.


That has prompted a heated debate about the ethics of using consumer DNA data to solve crimes — and now, a new framework to possibly address them.

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  • This topic is a significant one, regarding the ethical issues and the integrity of the individuals who are using the results for the purpose of identifying a potentially dangerous individual. I am a very true opponent of the individual’s personal information exposed online over the internet. I personally don’t have my health care practionors send anything to me about my health care issues. Instead I have presented my reasons for this decision; and I never have had one practitioner disagree.

    I am still unable to get over my ambivalence about the topic, with regards to the use of DNA, to stop an individual’s horrific criminal behavior. If I were approached by the investigators and was requested to use any DNA, that would be utilized in identification of such a individual who could be identified and stopped their heinous crimes, I think that I would most definitely agree with the decision to allow my DNA for the purpose of identification of a serial killer.

    Truly, a profound experience for the investigation of individuals who are stopped from their respective crimes against humanity. I have to admit that I would most definitely agree with this situation. Yet the caveat is- I am to be notified and requested for the information to be used in this type of situation.

    I am an individual who is extremely grateful for the HIPPA ACT; to which I have always been a proponent for the most strict adherence to the law.

    Then something of such a phenomenal experience as we read here, leaves me with a profound question about my own ethics and integrity, should my personal DNA, contribute to the capture and imprisonment of the worst possible criminal to consider the alternative to not be able to locate. I am going to have a lot of sources that are going to be discussed with this topic, with individuals whom I know well, and want to hear from them about this topic. I also am looking forward to reading the replies to this topic from the readership of STAT.

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