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This is an email from Pattern Matching, a newsletter by OneZero.

Your DNA could land a relative in jail

Illustration: Wenkai Mao

Hello OneZero readers!

You probably know someone who’s taken a DNA test from a company like 23andMe or MyHeritage. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re related to someone who has — millions upon millions of people in the United States alone have spit into that little tube, hoping for all to be revealed.

In the future, they might get more than they bargained for.

READ: How Cops Are Using Your DNA to Catch Criminals

“As more people freely use DNA testing kits and upload their genetic profiles to databases to find family members, they could be inadvertently creating a national DNA database — one in which the decision to include your DNA isn’t yours but that of your third or fourth cousin,” OneZero staff writer Emily Mullin writes in a fascinating new feature. Law enforcement can tap into that database to track down suspects (or at least, people they hope are suspects), all sourced from those innocent tests.

As with many things in our rapidly evolving future, there’s a tradeoff to consider. Security versus privacy: Which do you value more?

Thank you for reading — and pondering!

Have a great day. Don’t forget to wash your hands. 🤗

Damon Beres
Editor in Chief, OneZero
damon [at] medium [dot] com

More great — and brand new — stories from OneZero about the world of tomorrow:

Coronavirus Is a Preview of Our Self-Isolating Future

How Elon Musk’s Neuralink Will Read Your Mind

A Battery Breakthrough Could End Lithium-Ion’s Reign

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The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

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Damon Beres

Damon Beres

Co-Founder and Former Editor in Chief, OneZero at Medium

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