Conditioning on the number of bands in interpreting matches of multilocus DNA profiles

  • R. N. Curnow
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Genetics and Evolution book series (CIGE, volume 4)


There are clear and well-recognised problems in assessing the evidence provided by a match between a multi-locus DNA probe from a scene-of-crime sample and an identical profile obtained from a search of a data bank of profiles. Rarely, if ever, will the data bank be known to contain the profile of the criminal. Unless the scene-of-crime sample is unusual, a large data bank may contain a fortuitous matching profile. Thus, careful calculations similar to those used in assessing matches between individual DNA or protein sequences and DNA or protein sequences found by searching relevant data banks are needed if the occurrence of the match is to be used as evidence of involvement in the crime (Mott, Kirkwood & Curnow, 1989, 1990). Certainly, the match may assist the police in identifying potential culprits, but any use of the evidence of the match must be carefully scrutinised.

Key words

DNA profiling number of bands 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Curnow, R.N., 1991. DNA fingerprinting, pp 146–150 in The Use of Statistics in Forensic Science, edited by C.G.G. Aitken and D.A. Storey, Ellis Horwood, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Curnow, R.N. and Wheeler, 1993. Probabilities of incorrect decisions in paternity cases using multi-locus DNA probes. J.R. Stat. Soc (A) 156: 207-. 223.Google Scholar
  3. Evett, I.W., D.J. Werrett and A.P.M. Smith, 1989. Probabilistic anal ysis of DNA profiles. J. Forensic Science Soc. 29: 191–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jeffreys, A.J., M. Turner and P. Debenham, 1991. The efficiency of multilocus DNA fingerprint probes for individualization and establishment of family relationships, determined from extensive casework. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 48: 824–840.Google Scholar
  5. Mott, R.F., T.B.L. Kirkwood and R.N. Curnow, 1989. A test for the statistical significance of DNA sequence similarities for application in data bank searches. Comp. App. in the Biosciences S: 123–131.Google Scholar
  6. Mott, R.F., T.B.L. Kirkwood and R.N. Curnow, 1990. Test for the statistical significance of protein sequence similarities in databank searches. Protein Engineering 4: 149–154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. N. Curnow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied StatisticsUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

Personalised recommendations