Just Investigative Genetic Genealogy

Just Investigative Genetic Genealogy

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Original Release Date: October 10, 2019

In episode four of our 2019 DNA season, Just Science interviews Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter, genetic genealogist and volunteer search angel with, about investigative genetic genealogy and its use in forensic science. 

From computer programmer to patent attorney, Dr. Rae-Venter’s career has taken many unexpected turns. But no one would have predicted the impact she would have in retirement. In 2017, she was instrumental in identifying the Golden State Killer. Before that, she was asked to identify a woman who had been abducted as a child using her investigative genetic genealogy expertise. Listen along as she discusses the techniques used for creating family trees and the resolution of her first cold case.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

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Guest Biography

Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter is a genetic genealogist has been a volunteer Search Angel with and has helped adopted people find their genetic parents. Barbara Rae-Venter, J.D., Ph.D., is a retired intellectual property attorney who specialized in the patenting of biotechnology inventions. She earned a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin Law School and a B.A. double major in Psychology and Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Biology (Biochemistry) at the University of California at San Diego. She is licensed to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office and the State Bar of California (inactive). As a volunteer with, Barbara volunteered her time to work on a project for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Crimes Against Children Detail to identify, successfully, the immediate family of “Lisa Jensen”, a woman now in her 30s, who was abducted as a toddler. Lisa did not know either who she is or where she was from.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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