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The 5th ELSI Congress - ELSIcon2022

ELSIcon2022 Panel: Developing an Evidence Base for Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) Policy-Making


ELSIcon2022 • Panel Session 1 • May 31, 2022

Ellen Clayton, Stephanie Malia Fullerton, Amy McGuire, Natalie Ram

Investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) is a novel technique for identifying criminal suspects that has sparked controversy and led to calls for new regulation. Since 2018, IGG has been utilized to solve hundreds of investigations in the United States. The technique involves uploading a crime scene DNA profile to one or more genetic genealogy databases with the intention of identifying a criminal offender's genetic relatives and, eventually, locating the offender within the family tree. This panel will present empirical data collected on the practice of IGG and its potential use and will explore how those data can and should inform policy-making for IGG. The first speaker will provide a brief description of IGG and an overview of an ELSI R01 designed to inform policy via a study of stakeholder perspectives and public preferences related to IGG. She will present data from in-depth interviews with practitioners of IGG, focusing on their views regarding regulation and standardization of practices. The second speaker will present data from focus groups conducted with a nationally representative sample of Americans aimed at capturing public attitudes toward law enforcement participation in genetic genealogy databases. The third speaker will provide an overview of their recent focus group work centering on people considering direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT). Focusing on the development of recent regulation that affects the practice of IGG in the State of Maryland, the fourth speaker will discuss her experience with the legislative process and how empirical data was used to inform their work.


Emerging technologies - public opinion and policy
Law, regulation, and governance

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