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Massachusetts ‘DNA Drive’ on hold following ACLU complaint

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The public collection of DNA samples to help law enforcement solve crimes and identify human remains was postponed Saturday following objections of the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement that she postponed “DNA Drive Day” because of concerns raised by the local branch of the ACLU, as well as inclement weather.

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Middlesex County, Massachusetts District Attorney Marian Ryan has postponed a “DNA Drive Day” event over concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union.

It was billed as the first such event in Massachusetts in which people could voluntarily submit DNA samples to aid law enforcement investigators. DNA samples provided to genealogy databases already have helped law enforcement solve cold cases and resolve missing person cases.

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Ryan said her office will work with the ACLU chapter to resolve any concerns. “We believe that the community will best be served by further conversation,” she said.

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Saturday’s outdoor event at Newton City Hall would have allowed people to provide a sample to FamilyTree DNA. The DNA submissions would be uploaded free of charge to a pair of genealogy databases, FamilyTree DNA and GEDmatch, where the data could help investigators, officials said.

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