With the news of DNA being used to discover the Golden State Killer, the articles have been pouring out from different sources, essientially trying to spread fear and paranoia about all these different DNA kits.
I am here to tell people, the fear mongering is pure bullshit. As someone who was adopted with zero information on my biological parents, DNA has been a livesaver in regards to finding out information about my own family tree. As someone who has a passion for biology, I feel compelled to help shed some light on DNA in light of everything happening with the Golden State Killer.
For starters, DNA can only be collected (cheek swab, spit in a vital, etc.) with law enforcement with a warrant. If a judge does not see probable cause, then they will toss out the warrant. However, from an active crime scene, everything is up for grabs. If you had some hair strands fall off of your head, police can use it to find potential suspects. Dead skin cells from sheets and blankets can be used to find potential suspects. We leave DNA everywhere, in and out of the medical community.
DNA is currently protected by the federal government in regards to discrimination. This means that employers can not use DNA as an excuse not to hire you. So people who are scared to do DNA tests out of fear of future discrimination do not need to worry.
If DNA can be used to help solve a crime, this is fantastic. If DNA can be used to help find cures for genetic illness, this is fantastic. If DNA can be used to help find long lost relative, this is fantastic. There is no downside to using the different popular DNA kits (23andme, FTDNA, Ancestry.com, Nat Geo Geno, etc.) unless you have personal skeletons in your closet (such as a child out of wedlock). However, these skeletons are burdens you have to deal with. They are your personal problems, not anyone else’s.