The Unidentifieds Episode 3: Genetic genealogy 101

In the first two episodes of The Unidentifieds, we explored two decades-old cold cases involving remains found in southern Oregon. We learned how DNA and genealogical sleuthing gave a little boy and a young woman their names back. But what is genetic genealogy? It goes far beyond the 23andMe gift card you received a few holidays ago from a relative. In Episode 3, hosts Regan Mertz and Dave Killen look at the process of genetic genealogy itself and how advances in DNA technology have made it an enormously powerful tool for investigators. They delve into the history, science and practice of genetic genealogy and how investigators are using it to solve decades-old unidentified human remains cold cases in Oregon and around the nation. Regan also delves into the world herself and takes an Ancestry DNA test to learn more about her genetic makeup. Learn more about The Unidentifieds here: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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There are 120 unidentified human remains in Oregon – cases exist in all but three counties. Most were discovered in the Pacific Northwest wilderness, parts of their skeleton scattered in between rocks and twigs, and most go unfound and unidentified for decades. The Unidentifieds, a narrative podcast hosted by Regan Mertz and Dave Killen for The Oregonian/OregonLive, tells the story of four of those cold cases and how online genealogy and forensic anthropology helped families get closure.