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More states use familial DNA as powerful forensic search tool

• Reuters

A powerful forensic search tool known as familial DNA is gaining clout for its ability to identify suspects when all else fails and criticism for its potential to be unfair.

Recently adopted in Virginia and under consideration in Pennsylvania, the controversial search technology is used in Colorado and California, where it was credited with nabbing suspects in the Grim Sleeper serial murders and a coffee shop rape case.

In familial DNA searches, authorities collect crime scene DNA and search for a near -- but not perfect -- match with existing DNA in the criminal database, presumably from an incarcerated blood relative of the yet unknown suspect.

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