A shout-out to my former genetics professor, Dr. Fred Bieber, who was part of a small team that developed a crime-solving methodology known as "familial genetics." Against considerable opposition (and to my considerable surprise,) California Attorney General Jerry Brown ordered the familial genetics methodology implemented in California in April 2008. Now, familial genetics may have caught its first criminal, the Grim Sleeper Killer, so called because he took a hiatus between his clusters of murders.
DNA retrieved from numerous crime scenes suggested that one offender was responsible for a string of murders, and although California takes DNA from everyone arrested for certain qualifying crimes and keeps all the results in a single database, there was no match for the Grim Sleeper. However, Dr. Bieber's familial genetics methodology revealed that there was a strong familial match to the suspect, and interviews with this familial match lead investigators to a man named Lonnie Franklin. In a tactic worthy of prime-time television, an investigator posed as a waiter and collected a pizza crust from Lonnie Franklin, retrieved DNA from the pizza crust and got a match to the suspect they'd been pursuing since 1985.
Dr. Bieber's recent opinion piece from the LA Times can be read here. California is one of only two states that employ familial genetics, perhaps more will adopt the methodology after this success.
Governor Moonbeam surprises me sometimes. This is not an endorsement in his race for Governor, I am voting for Meg Whitman. But I am glad that, during one of his rare moments of clarity, Jerry Brown made the right decision on this novel and valuable crime-solving tool.