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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Hi
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Hi Todd, How are things? Long time no see.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
It's been a while!
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
We are hood!
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Good
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Yup. Hey bro'
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Lots of good things happening in this world.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Indeed!
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Still good for this at 5-5:30 eastern today?
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Yes. We are ready
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
I have a 2 central meeting and then free rest of the day! :-)
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
I am online
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
I'm here! Ready to start?
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Yes
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Margaret here - yep!
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Can you tell us a little about DNA Doe project and the services you provide?
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Our mission is to use genetic genealogy to identify John and Jane Does and return them to their families.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
We use genetic genealogy to do that.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
We also offer online training for law enforcement interested in working their own cases: https://forensicgenealogytraining.org
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Can you help us understand? It's complicated! :-)
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
We are also conducting research studies on how to use degraded DNA
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
We use much the same technqiues that are used by genealogists in adoption searches.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Decades old DNA?
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Only we don't go through the Direct to Consumer testing companies. We work with private laboratories.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Sometimes decades old.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Amazing!
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
The process for getting DNA for Does is much harder than when you and I spit in a tube for an AncestryDNA test.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Well we weren't sure it would work.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
What inspired your efforts??
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Gedmatch was designed for use with fresh DNA, not highly degraded and compromised DNA.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
It's an idea whose time had come.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
We were inspired by working unknown parentage cases, then realized the same procedure could be used for unidentified remains
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
All the tools were in place.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
What is your case I take process? Coroner inquiry / request?
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
The difference being that getting the DNA was much harder, much more expensive, and we were limited to GEDmatch and do not have access to Ancestry etc.
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Todd Matthews
Intake

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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Agencies contact us with cases they'd like us to work on.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
This had never been done before for John and Jane Does. It took us about six months to organize the lab and bioinformatics capabilities
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Public?
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
We made our first identification exactly a year to the day we started the project. There have been many since then.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
The public often suggests cases, but we only can take them if the agencies want us to.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
I can imagine. It can take years to get a program up and running!
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Just one year.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
To get it running nad prove it works.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
I think you did that!
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
We have 65 volunteers and so we can work on cases that take a long time.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Thanks!
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Wow! How to you keep track of the volunteers?
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
They are terrifically professional! They keep track of themselves!
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Fortunately! We have a great crew.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
They're organized into teams - one per case. each with a leader.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Margaret is a good organizer so she keeps them in line.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
How is your work funded?
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Don't let me rush you in replaying. It's ok to go back!
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Agencies often pay for the tests themselves. Those that can't we raise fund for with our DoeFundMe program. We get lots of donations from all over the world - a real grass roots effort. It's heart-warming to see.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
We have about 70 cases in the pipeline right now.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Some have already been solved.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
It is and your right, the technology is in place. The time had come. Do you have cases that been tougher than others?
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Oh yes.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
There must be challenges.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
11 solved, 15 actively being worked now. The rest are bone extractions or being sequenced now.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Our first case was really hard.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Recent immigrants are tough.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Back in my breakthrough days the internet itself was the cutting edge new technology
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new message(s)
Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Very degraded or contaminated DNA - we miss many DNA matches that would be clues to the family.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
The main challenges are the limiations of the database and the condition of the DNA.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Fear of new things?
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
But we are conducting a couple of pilot research studies on how to deal wtih compromised DNA samples.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Populations with lots of intermarriage make for challenging cases.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Buckskin Girl was a major breakthrough
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Under represented ethnicities.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Yes it was.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
It only took a few hours.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Amazing - can you walk us through?
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Small tight-knit communities - eg WV or eastern KY where families have lived for generations. The same great-grandparents show up on both the fathers side and mother's side. makes it tough ti figure ouw who's who, and who was where when and with whom :)
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
I spoke with Beth Murray, the NAMUS Case manager, at the AAFS meeting I think in 2017 in New Orleans. I gave a talk on the Lori Ruff case and she spoke to me about using something similar for some of her cases.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Beth and often spoke of dna potential over the years.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Several months and several conversations later, she sent Buckskin's DNA sample to our lab..
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
I

new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
We created a Gedmatch kit and uploaded it. But we were watching the matches come in.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Suddenly about 1 am, we saw a first cousin once removed.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
It made sense, but it was definitely something that had to be decided upon by the local agencies.
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
That was close enough for Margaret and I to identify her as Macia King within hours.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
It was so good to see that case resolved. Standard forensics had been maximized.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
We had help! The team was awake and researching all the names we found. By morning we had the family contact informat to turn over to the agencye.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Yes
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Can't correct typos - sorry!
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
What's new? Anything you are particularly excited about? (Everything!)
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new message(s)
Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Our new pilot studies on low level and degraded DNA. That will help us with cases that otherwise would be impossible to help.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
A new world for forensics was revealed that day. 3 weeks later GSK brought awareness to the next level.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
That's huge. I know of really old cases that could benefit. Is it expensive? Will the cost go down in time?
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
This all was based on methods developed by the bioinformatics, so that forensic labs don't have the capability of creating this kind of data.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Every case excites us. New angles, new challenges especially. They push the envelope.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Pushing the envelope is one of my favorite things!
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Yes. I can think of cases from the 50s that we might be able to do.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Yes - prices for whole genome sequencing will continue to drop. That will soon be the standard. The chip-based technologies will be obsolete.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
So many possibilities! I appreciate the new hope you guys have pioneered!
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
With whole genome sequencing, you can do so much morere
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
We're finding labs that can work with smaller and smaller amounts, and extraction labs that can squeeze out more and more from tiny samples.
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
I've seen cases with just a couple of teeth.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
The final pieces is more and more sophisticated bioinformatics to get us better files from challenging data.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Couple of teeth? We get those all the time. It's when the DNA has been embedded in paraffin for 14 years - then you start to worry.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Don't forget fingernails!
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Thank you so much for sharing today! Want to share your webpage?
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Yes fingernails.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
and see us on Facebook!
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Thanks for having us, Todd! Talk soon.
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
If you have tested, upload to GEDmatch!
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new message(s)
Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Hope to chat again soon!
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
Bye for now!
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Avatar for Margaret Press
Margaret Press
Thanks Todd!
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
:-)
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Avatar for Todd Matthews
Todd Matthews
Stay in touch.
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Avatar for Colleen
Colleen
You too!
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