FILE - In this Friday, April 27, 2018 file photo, Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who authorities suspect is the "Golden State Killer" responsible for at least a dozen murders and 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s, is accompanied by Sacramento County Public Defender Diane Howard, right, during his arraignment in Sacramento County Superior Court in Sacramento, Calif. Authorities said they used a genetic genealogy website to connect some crime-scene DNA to DeAngelo. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Study: DNA websites cast broad net for identifying people

October 11, 2018 - 2:01 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — A new study estimates that about 60 percent of the U.S. population with European heritage may be identifiable from their DNA by searching consumer websites, even if they've never made their own genetic information available.

That number is expected to grow as more and more people upload their DNA profiles to websites that use genetic analysis to find relatives.

The estimate was reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Science. Researchers arrived at it by doing searches within a website database containing 1.28 million people.

Website searches made headlines earlier this year, when investigators linked crime-scene DNA to a man they then accused of being a serial murderer and rapist known as the Golden State Killer.

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