Main Question or Discussion Point
All over the world, some 10 million people have had their DNA analyzed by a direct-to-consumer genetics company like 23andMe, Ancestry.com, or MyHeritage.
So many people have now used the services that many of us don’t even need to share our own DNA to be tracked down. Your father — or perhaps a third cousin whom you’ve never even met — could have uploaded their data, which could lead to you. This is how police cracked the cold case of the “Golden State Killer” earlier this year: An old DNA sample from a crime scene matched with the DNA of the killer’s relatives in public databases, which, after some more sleuthing, led to him.
The study concludes that around 60 percent of Americans of European descent could be matched to a third cousin or closer relation. And this percentage is only set to grow in the coming years, as more people give their genetic information over to these companies.