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Just Science: DNA: Just Investigative Genetic Genealogy

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2019
1 page

This fourth episode of the DNA season of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Dr. Barbara Rai-Venter, a genetic genealogist and volunteer search angel with DNAadoption.org, who discusses investigative genetic genealogy and its use in forensic science.


In 2017, Dr. Rae-Venter was instrumental in identifying the Golden State Killer. Before that, she was asked to identify a woman who had been abducted as a child, using her investigative genetic genealogy expertise. In this current interview, she discusses the techniques she uses in creating family trees and how she resolved her first cold case. In her current work with DNAadoption .org, she assists people who are searching for information on their ancestry or relatives they don't know. She guides them in using DNA information sources that are likely to provide the information they are seeking. In her work with cold criminal cases, she can take DNA obtained at a crime scene and link it to DNA information in ancestry databases that suggest the suspect is likely to be a member of a particular family ancestry.

Date Published: October 1, 2019