Strathclyde University Conference on Advancing Genetic Genealogy

Attending the Symposium on Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy and the Conference on Advancing Genetic Genealogy was a unique experience for me as a PhD researcher focusing on the regulatory aspects of forensic investigative genetic genealogy. The symposium successfully brought together all relevant stakeholders from various jurisdictions, and it was unparalleled to learn from the experiences of all speakers regarding the (novel) use cases, challenges, and takeaway messages. As some participants underlined during the symposium, the most interesting observation was that the challenges faced by all stakeholders appeared to be similar regardless of jurisdiction.

One of the most important challenges highlighted in this regard by more or less all stakeholders was the need to ensure clarity on the legal aspect of forensic investigative genetic genealogy. As my PhD research focuses on this very aspect by examining how we could ensure the lawfulness and legitimacy of this novel and promising investigation tool, attending the symposium allowed me to broaden my knowledge of the most pressing issues related to this problem. Therefore, I appreciated the discussions and engagements initiated by the symposium. On the other hand, attending the Advancing Genetic Genealogy conference enhanced my views on the need for stronger interdisciplinary cooperation on forensic investigative genetic genealogy. This was because, while listening to other speakers, I identified that the addressed concerns appeared to be similar again. For this reason, I have tailored my presentation at the conference to inform attendees from various backgrounds and jurisdictions regarding the most fundamental legal issues and how different European jurisdictions are currently addressing these concerns.

Furthermore, I have also addressed some of the ambiguities regarding certain legal concepts, such as the difference between explicit and informed consent, where consent could (not) be used as a legal basis. While being able to present in front of such a diverse cohort was a unique opportunity for me, I very much enjoyed the challenging questions posed by the participants. Overall, I truly appreciated the engagement from my peers and stakeholders, and I hope that my presentation was useful for those who attended the conference.

Taner Kuru

Taner Kuru is a PhD researcher at Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (TILT), focusing on the ethical and legal implications of investigative genetic genealogy. He is a PhD student at Strathclyde University and recently gave a talk on "Investigative Genetic Genealogy in Europe: a novel technique with novel challenges"

He holds an Advanced LL.M. degree in Law and Digital Technologies from Leiden University (cum laude distinction) as an awardee of the Jean Monnet Scholarship. In 2021, he received the European Data Protection Law Review’s “Young Scholar Award” for his article titled “Genetic Data: The Achilles’ Heel of the GDPR?” based on his master’s thesis. He also interned at the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Institute (UNICRI) Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

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