The forensic debut of the NRC’s DNA report: population structure, ceiling frequencies and the need for numbers

  • D. H. Kaye
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Genetics and Evolution book series (CIGE, volume 4)


This paper reviews judicial opinions that have discussed the April 1992 recommendations of a committee of the U.S. National Research Council concerning the statistics of forensic DNA profiles obtained with single-locus VNTR probes. It observes that a few courts have held ‘ceiling frequencies’ (as opposed to less ‘conservative’ estimates) admissible, but that the implications of the scientific criticisms of the ceiling procedures have yet to be addressed adequately in court opinions. It urges courts to distinguish between policy judgments and scientific assessments in both the NRC report and the scientific literature, and to defer less to the former than to the latter.

Key words

forensic DNA ceiling frequencies NRC report courts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. H. Kaye
    • 1
  1. 1.College of LawArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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