Forensic utilization of familial searches in DNA databases

Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2011 Jan;5(1):16-20. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2010.07.005. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


DNA evidence is widely recognized as an invaluable tool in the process of investigation and identification, as well as one of the most sought after types of evidence for presentation to a jury. In the United States, the development of state and federal DNA databases has greatly impacted the forensic community by creating an efficient, searchable system that can be used to eliminate or include suspects in an investigation based on matching DNA profiles - the profile already in the database to the profile of the unknown sample in evidence. Recent changes in legislation have begun to allow for the possibility to expand the parameters of DNA database searches, taking into account the possibility of familial searches. This article discusses prospective positive outcomes of utilizing familial DNA searches and acknowledges potential negative outcomes, thereby presenting both sides of this very complicated, rapidly evolving situation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Fingerprinting / methods
  • Databases, Factual
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid* / trends
  • Family
  • Forecasting
  • Forensic Genetics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Law Enforcement / methods*
  • United States


  • DNA