Denver’s district attorney wants the DNA profile and identity of a California felon who is a close but not perfect match to the man who committed an unsolved Denver rape, in the hope that the two are related. The prosecutor wants to use the California man’s personal information to track the unknown rapist, reports USA Today. Their genetic similarities, he says, suggests the California felon and the suspect are close relatives. But California is refusing to release the information, citing a need to protect the privacy of the California felon and the integrity of the state DNA database.
The standoff between the two agencies appears to be the first but likely not the last such clash over a new DNA technique called “familial searching,” says Angelo Della Manna, chief DNA analyst for the state of Alabama and an adviser to the FBI on DNA policy. “At some point you ask yourself as a scientist not only ‘what can the science do?’ but ‘what are we comfortable with it doing?'” Della Manna said. “We’re reaching that point now.”