The effect of relatedness on likelihood ratios and the use of conservative estimates

  • John F. Y. Brookfield
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Genetics and Evolution book series (CIGE, volume 4)


DNA profiling can be used to identify criminals through their DNA matching that left at the scene of a crime. The strength of the evidence supplied by a match in DNA profiles is given by the likelihood ratio. This, in turn, depends upon the probability that a match would be produced if the suspect is innocent. This probability could be strongly affected by the possibility of relatedness between the suspect and the true source of the scene-of-crime DNA profile. Methods are shown that allow for the possibility of such relatedness, arising either through population substructure or through a family relationship. Uncertainties about the likelihood ratio have been taken as grounds for the use of very conservative estimates of this quantity. The use of such conservative estimates can be shown to be neither necessary nor harmless.

Key words

conservativeness DNA profiling forensic science relatedness population substructure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Y. Brookfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Genetics, Queens Medical CentreUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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