For the second time this year, investigators used a public DNA database to solve a cold case and find a murderer.
The bust: A 55-year-old truck driver, William Talbott, was arrested today in Washington State after being fingered in a 30-year-old double murder.
How they found him: According to Buzzfeed, investigators located Talbott’s family members after uploading old crime-scene DNA to GEDMatch, a crowdsourced database that genealogists use to compare DNA and build family trees.
That’s the same database used in April to locate the Golden State Killer.
Nowhere to hide: DNA databases are now so large that nearly everyone has a relative who has joined one.
More to come: Expect more big cases to break soon. A Virginia-based company called Parabon Nanolabs, which helped with the Washington murders, says it has DNA from 100 crime scenes and expects half the cases to be solved using relative matching. In May, after the Golden State Killer news was released, the company began touting “genetic genealogy services for law enforcement.”
Sam Altman invested $180 million into a company trying to delay death
Can anti-aging breakthroughs add 10 healthy years to the human life span? The CEO of OpenAI is paying to find out.
An ALS patient set a record for communicating via a brain implant: 62 words per minute
Brain interfaces could let paralyzed people speak at almost normal speeds.
Forget designer babies. Here’s how CRISPR is really changing lives
The gene-editing tool is being tested in people, and the first treatment could be approved this year.
Neuroscientists listened in on people’s brains for a week. They found order and chaos.
The study shows that our brains exist between chaos and stability—a finding that could be used to help tweak them either way.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.