DNA and Law Enforcement: Gedmatch Notification

Resource: www.gedmatch.com access April 30, 2018

Presented as written.

 

April 28, 2018 We now have facility to allow users to delete their registration/profile and associated DNA and GEDCOM resources. If you are interested in how to use this facility Click here to find more information.

Deletion of Registration/Profile

Background

We now have a facility to allow a user to delete their Profile/Registration along with all of their DNA resources (ie kits they have uploaded), GEDCOM resources (ie family trees) AND their login profile (ie user login) from the current database used by www.gedmatch.com

This deletion will be permanate and cannot be undone.

Procedure

  1. You can access this facility under the “Your Log-in Profile” section with the link “View/Change/Delete your profile (password, email, groups)”.
  2. Click on the right tab labeled “Profile/Registration Deletion”.
  3. You will see DNA and GEDCOM resources and a place to verify your password at the bottom of the page.
  4. The next page is the final warning where you can click the delete button.
  5. You will then see DNA and GEDCOM resources as they are deleted – you can then click continue and will be logged out and directed to the login page.
  6. At this point your Profile/Registration and all resources are either deleted or scheduled for deletion.

 

April 27, 2018 To correct a BIG misunderstanding, we do not show any person’s DNA on GEDmatch. We only show manipulations of data such as DNA matches

April 27, 2018 We understand that the GEDmatch database was used to help identify the Golden State Killer. Although we were not approached by law enforcement or anyone else about this case or about the DNA, it has always been GEDmatch�s policy to inform users that the database could be used for other uses, as set forth in the Site Policy ( linked to the login page and https://www.gedmatch.com/policy.php). While the database was created for genealogical research, it is important that GEDmatch participants understand the possible uses of their DNA, including identification of relatives that have committed crimes or were victims of crimes. If you are concerned about non-genealogical uses of your DNA, you should not upload your DNA to the database and/or you should remove DNA that has already been uploaded. 

How a Genealogy Site Led to the Front Door of the Golden State Killer Suspect

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A Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy carried bags of evidence from the home of the suspect in the Golden State Killer case on Thursday. CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

SACRAMENTO — The Golden State Killer raped and murdered victims across California in an era before Google searches and social media, a time when the police relied on shoe leather, not cellphone records or big data.

But it was technology that got him. The suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested by the police on Tuesday. Investigators accuse him of committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders over decades.

Investigators used DNA from crime scenes that had been stored all these years and plugged the genetic profile of the suspected assailant into an online genealogy database. One such service, GEDmatch, said in a statement on Friday that law enforcement officials had used its database to crack the case. Officers found distant relatives of Mr. DeAngelo’s and, despite his years of eluding the authorities, traced their DNA to his front door.

“We found a person that was the right age and lived in this area — and that was Mr. DeAngelo,” said Steve Grippi, the assistant chief in the Sacramento district attorney’s office.

Investigators then obtained what Anne Marie Schubert, the Sacramento district attorney, called “abandoned” DNA samples from Mr. DeAngelo. “You leave your DNA in a place that is a public domain,” she said 

The test result confirmed the match to more than 10 murders in California. Ms. Schubert’s office then obtained a second sample and came back with the same positive result, matching the full DNA profile.

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Investigators obtained what Anne Marie Schubert, the Sacramento district attorney, called “abandoned” DNA samples from the suspect. CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

Those who had investigated the case for years in vain were ecstatic by the sudden breakthrough. “He was totally off the radar till just a week ago, and it was a lead they got, somehow they got information and through checking family or descendants — it was pretty complicated the way they did it — they were able to get him on the radar,” said Ray Biondi, 81, who was the lieutenant in charge of the homicide bureau of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department during the crime spree.

The big players in commercial DNA testing — including 23andMe and AncestryDNA — extract genetic profiles from the saliva that customers send to the company in a tube by mail. It would not be easy for law enforcement to upload a profile to one of those sites. Over the past few years, numerous smaller genealogical websites have emerged, however, giving customers more avenues to upload a DNA profile and search for relatives.

If law enforcement located the suspect through a genealogy site, it could raise ethical issues, particularly if individuals did not consent to having their genetic profiles searched against crime scene evidence. GEDmatch said in its statement that it had warned those who used its site that the genetic information could be used for other purposes. “If you are concerned about nongeneatological uses of your DNA, you should not upload your DNA to the database and/or you should remove DNA that has already been uploaded,” the statement said.

The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, tormented his victims with sadistic rituals. Some he shot and killed with a firearm. Others were bludgeoned to death with whatever he could find — in one case a piece of firewood. He had many trademarks: He wore a mask, he bound his victims’ hands. He started by raping single women and then went on to raping married women with their husbands present, before killing them both.

Among the numerous serial killers who stalked America in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s — the Zodiac Killer, the Son of Sam, to name two — the Golden State Killer was among the most notorious.

Ms. Schubert has been central to the efforts to find the killer. Her childhood in the Sacramento suburb of Arden-Arcade, just miles from where the suspect prowled through houses and raped women, was marked by the terror of wondering if she or people she knew might be next.

 “It wasn’t a matter of if he was coming, it was when,” Ms. Schubert said. Her parents were “not gun people,” she said, but her father bought a firearm. Her mother kept an ice pick under her pillow when she slept.

Monica Miller, who was in charge of the Sacramento F.B.I. field office from 2013 to 2017, said that when she retired, the case of the Golden State Killer was cold. She said that Ms. Schubert, “was central in leading this, convincing people this was worth pursuing.” For the people of Sacramento, she added, “it was almost an open wound. People would still talk about it. He was a phantom or a ghost in people’s minds.”

In her career as a district attorney, Ms. Schubert championed DNA technology and taught courses about cold cases, creating a unit in the Sacramento district attorney’s office to pursue them. Eighteen years ago she reached out to an investigator from Contra Costa County who specialized in the East Area Rapist, beginning a collaboration to re-energize the case.

Two years ago she convened a task force on the 40th anniversary of the attacks in the Sacramento suburbs. It was the work of that group — a collaboration with counties in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and the F.B.I. — that helped solve the case, Ms. Schubert said.

Many questions remain about the suspect. Did his family or his former colleagues have hints about his grisly past? Why did he appear to stop his spree of rapes and murders in 1986? Did he leverage his job as a police officer to elude detection?

All of these questions swirled in conversations among residents of Citrus Heights, Mr. DeAngelo’s neighborhood. They awoke on Wednesday shocked to find that their neighbor, a man who liked to tinker with his motorcycle in front of his neat beige stucco house, had been accused of being one of America’s most notorious serial rapists.

Attacks Associated With the Golden State Killer

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Pacific Ocean

“It’s crazy — they were looking for this guy for 40 years and he was right here under our noses,” said Ashley Piorun, who lives five houses down from Mr. DeAngelo. “We were shellshocked to find out.”

This suburban neighborhood of well-kept homes, northeast of Sacramento, is a classic California housing tract of looping cul-de-sacs and towering palm trees. Ms. Piorun calls it a “quiet, sweet, boring neighborhood.”

Paul Sanchietti, another neighbor, said he had taken an interest in the case six months ago and combed through the Wikipedia entry that listed all of the grisly and sadistic crimes the Golden State Killer was accused of committing.

“Here I was looking up the guy on Wikipedia and he was five doors down,” Mr. Sanchietti said of Mr. DeAngelo.

From the outside, the house seemed meticulously maintained. The roof is new, the garden hose is perfectly coiled, the landscaping of sod, wood chips and decorative rocks is neat.

Mr. Sanchietti said he had nothing more than polite interactions with Mr. DeAngelo over the past two decades, but like other neighbors, he remembered Mr. DeAngelo as having a temper.151COMMENTS

“He would get volatile,” Mr. Sanchietti said. “He would be out here tending to his car and he would get very angry. There were a lot of four letter words.”

“Every neighborhood has some strange little dude,” Mr. Sanchietti said. “But for him to be a serial murderer and rapist — that never crossed my mind.”

Researchers search for disease markers linked to diverse populations

This post is part of the link services of informative topics on Genealogy and Genetics. This post is offered to those in the sciences field with an interest in the connections of several fields of study. They are linked to www.africanamericangenealogydna.com on WordPress. It is provided as written by the authors with no major changes.

Researchers search for disease markers linked to diverse populations

Summary:
As we observe Minority Health Month, scientists are finding clues that may lead to improved treatment of diseases that disproportionately affect minorities.

In the emerging world of personalized medicine, researchers are furiously looking for disease markers specific to minority populations, and they have already made some promising discoveries. The clues they are gathering, the scientists said, could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases, such as asthma and heart disease, that disproportionately affect minorities, as well as eventually helping reduce longstanding health disparities.

This is encouraging news, especially as we observe National Minority Health Month in April.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is playing a key role in the quest to identify these so-called biomarkers, which show up in many forms, from blood proteins to genes. One recent NHLBI supported study, for example, identified a genetic marker that may help explain why the commonly used asthma drug albuterol is not as effective in African-American and Puerto Rican children as it is in European American or Mexican children. Further study of this chemical clue could lead to improved asthma therapies for all populations.

Another study, also funded by NHLBI, found that a substance called D-dimer, a byproduct of the breakdown of fibrin that is involved in blood clotting, could provide a useful marker for identifying stroke and heart disease risk in African-Americans. The substance is found at higher levels in African-Americans than in people of European ancestry, the researchers say. The researchers also confirmed that higher D-dimer levels were associated with sickle cell trait.

Both the lung and heart disease studies were made possible by genome-sequencing tools provided by NHLBI’s Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed program) Program. The program focuses on collecting and identifying genetic biomarkers from clinical study participants with heart, lung, blood, or sleep disorders. And it places special emphasis on collecting genetic data that represents the racial and ethnic diversity of the American population.

Diverse American population

“We’re elated about these early findings,” said Cashell Jaquish, Ph.D., a genetic epidemiologist at NHLBI and a researcher in the TOPMed program. “But we’re only scratching the surface of what could be a treasure trove of biomarkers, particular in minority populations that have not been sufficiently represented in previous health studies.”

Jaquish added that by including many people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds in the study, researchers will be able to understand better how genetic variations influence disease risk.

The good news, she said, is that the studies extend well beyond lung and heart disease. The TOPMed program is also looking for biomarkers related to high blood pressure, COPD, sleep apnea, obesity and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

Begun in 2014, the program has sequenced more than 100,000 genomes (gene collections) using data from patients who have volunteered to participate in NHLBI clinical studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, Jackson Heart Study and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The inclusion of these and other well-studied, multi-ethnic populations has made it easier to find biomarkers that are clinically relevant to all populations. And recent improvements in genetic technology have made sequencing faster. (Complementing TOPMed is the All of Us Research Program, a new cutting-edge effort to collect data from 1 million or more people in the United States to uncover biomarkers that can help deliver precision medicine for improved health.)

Esteban Burchard, M.D., M.P.H., a physician-scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the senior author of the asthma pharmacogenetics study, said the TOPMed program is “an important first step toward implementing precision medicine in all populations.”

In his asthma study, for example, Burchard and his colleagues collected genetic data from nearly 1,500 children across a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. The children had either a very high or very low drug response to albuterol. The researchers identified new genetic markers that could be used to predict which children are most likely to respond poorly to the drug. Among the top associated genes identified in the low-response group was a variant in the NFKB1 gene that is more prevalent in people with African ancestry. A better understanding of this variant could lead scientists to predict who will respond well to current and future asthma medications, the researcher said.

Burchard said that kind of discovery has value for everyone involved: “Racial and ethnic diversity in clinical and biomedical research leads to better science and improved clinical outcomes for all of us.”

A version of this blog was previously published in NHLBI News.

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Research

Untied Shades of American

CNN’s United Shades of America airs an episode on Gullah Geechee culture May 13

Including Gadsden’s Wharf and McLeod Plantation

Posted by Will Allen on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 3:31 PM

  1. Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America, a documentary series on CNN, is an important show for our cultural moment. Now in its third season, the show sees the comedian take a deep dive into communities across the country to better understand the challenges they face.

From the first episode, in which Kamau, an African-American man, attended a KKK cross burning (or “cross lighting,” as they corrected him) to learn about the group and their rationale for their bigotry, the show has shed a light on some of our country’s most deep-seated problems. It makes for some powerful television. Fortunately, Bell’s background as a comedian can bring some much needed levity — his affable personality lets him be comforting to those who have faced hardships and allows him to be restrained enough to calmly talk with some of the nation’s worst bigots, like white nationalist Richard Spencer.

On Sun. May 13, CNN will air an episode of United Shades of America that focuses on the experiences of the Gullah Geechee people in South Carolina. Kamau travels to the Gullah Heritage Festival on St. Helena Island where he learns about the unique culture of the Gullah Geechee, including their music, art, food, and language, from local members of the community.

In the episode he also travels to local landmarks, like the Angel Oak, the Penn Center, the Charleston City Market, Gadsden’s Wharf (the future location of the International African-American Museum), and McLeod Plantation Historic Site to learn about the history of Gullah culture and enslaved men and women. A particularly powerful moment comes as Kamau stands in the slave quarters at McLeod Plantation and a historian describes the realities of slavery. The episode remains hopeful, celebrating Gullah culture and talking about preserving that history for future generations.

The parts of Gullah culture that Bell uncovers will prove, as he says, “the idea that black people are not a monolith.” The episode celebrates a version of black culture that differs from other regions of the country, and its premiere on a nationwide news channel will allow a wide audience of people to learn about the important history of the Gullah Geechee people.

April Business Meeting BFGHS

The Black Family Genealogy and History Society held its April 2018 business meeting at Harmon Library in Phoenix, AZ.  Prior to the meeting, Phyllis Grimes, BFGHS Corresponding Secy., gave an inspiring presentation,”The Todd’s:  Telling Our Story”, which outlined how she researched and found her ancestors.  Members and guests were encouraged to attend a Research Working Session, sponsored by BFGHS, that will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., April 20, 2018, at Anthem Civic Center.  The session is designed to provide individuals with an opportunity to organize their paperwork and get assistance from others on how to step through researching and recording their family’s history.

Arizona State University’s Annual Distinguished Lecturer Program

 

On March 27, 2018, Arizona State University’s Annual Distinguished Lecturer program hosted Alondra Nelson, a prominent humanities scholar whose work highlights the importance of humanities research. Alondra is an award-winning author, Professor of Sociology, and Dean of Social Science at Columbia University, where she has served as Director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Nelson is celebrated for her work exploring the intersections of science, technology, medicine, and inequality. Her most recent book, The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome (Beacon Press, 2016), traces how claims about ancestry are marshaled together with genetic analysis in a range of social ventures. Professor Nelson was greeted by members the Black Family Genealogy and History Society of Phoenix that were in attendance.