An Improved Method for Forensic Genetic Genealogy in an Operational Crime Lab

Life Sciences, Laboratory Technology,
  • Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Forensic genetic genealogy is a powerful tool for investigative lead generation for the identification of unknown remains, solving cold cases and innocence projects. The traditional forensic genetic genealogy workflow combines a DNA profile generated using microarrays with a database to identify genetic relatives. Though this method has successfully resolved over 200 cases, it fails to address the challenges of forensic samples and operational laboratories, introducing consumer privacy concerns, broken chain of custody and limited implementation utility. An improved forensic genetic genealogy workflow addresses these limitations by combining targeted sequencing designed for poor quality samples with a new algorithm for calculating long-range kinship, on a platform that can be readily integrated into an operational setting.

This webinar will walk through the typical forensic genetic genealogy workflow and compare how the improved process performs against the traditional and alternative approaches, both in assay sensitivity and analysis performance. There will be a mock case study, demonstrating sample confirmation out to a second cousin. This will include a detailed look at the interpretation and statistical results of the targeted assay compared to array-based direct-to-consumer genotyping, including strengths and limitations. Lastly, several practical considerations for implementation into an operational laboratory, as well as best practices and tips for success, will be shared.

Register for this webinar to hear about an improved forensic genetic genealogy workflow.



Daniela Cuenca, Senior Criminalist, California Department of Justice, Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory

Daniela obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of San Francisco. She then attended the University of California, Davis, where she graduated with a master’s degree in Forensic Science. In 2014, Daniela started her career at the California Department of Justice Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory, where she is currently still employed. Daniela has gained knowledge and expertise in the field of massively parallel sequencing (MPS) through her master’s research and current position in the method development group, which has involved validation and evaluation of several nuclear and mitochondrial sample preparation kits, sequencing instruments, and software programs.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

  • Government forensic lab personnel
  • Commercial/private testing forensic lab personnel
  • Academics in related disciplines (forensic science, DNA sequencing)
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Legal personnel

What You Will Learn

  • How the basic genetic genealogy process works
  • A comparison of microarray, whole-genome sequencing and targeted sequencing technologies for workflow, outcome success and utility in an operational lab
  • A case study on long-range kinship determination using a targeted sequencing approach
  • Best practices and tips for success during implementation

Xtalks Partner


Verogen is a dedicated developer of human identification products for sequencing and analysis of forensic genomic samples. Working closely with the forensic community, Verogen places exceptional value on flexible, scalable solutions that deliver reliable results. For more information, please visit

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