Match probability calculations for multi-locus DNA profiles

  • Peter Donnelly
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Genetics and Evolution book series (CIGE, volume 4)


The paper considers aspects of the match probability calculation for multi-locus DNA profiles and a related calculation which aims to assess the probability that a pair of profiles is concordant for the presence and absence of bands. It is suggested that levels of allelism and linkage for multi-locus profiles may be higher than reported in previous studies, and that comparison of bandsharing values between different studies is problematic. Our view is that the independence assumptions which underpin the calculations have not been established. The effect of ignoring (local) heterogeneities in band frequencies may be non-conservative. Concerns thus raised about the match probability calculation could be important in practical casework. The speculative nature of some aspects of the concordance probability calculation would seem to render it inappropriate for use in court.


Independence Assumption Match Probability Variable Number Tandem Repeat Forensic Casework Allelic Pair 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Balding, D. and P. Donnelly, 1994. How convincing is DNA evidence. Nature 368: 285–286.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balding, D. and P. Donnelly, 1995, Inference in forensic identification. J. Roy. Stat. Soc. A, In press.Google Scholar
  3. Brinkman, B., S. Rand and P. Wiegand, 1991. Population and family data of RFLP’s using selected single-and multi-locus systems. Legal Medicine 104: 81–86, 179.Google Scholar
  4. Buffery, C., F. Burridge, M. Greenhalgh, S. Jones and G. Willot, 1991. Allele frequency distributions of four variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) loci in the London area. For. Sci. Int. 52: 53–64.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, J., 1990. DNA fingerprinting for forensic identification: potential effects on data interpretation of subpopulation heterogeneity and band number variability. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 46: 358–368.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Gill, P., J. Lygo, S. Fowler and D. Werrett, 1987. An evaluation of DNA fingerprinting for forensic purposes. Electrophoresis 8: 38–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jeffreys, A., N. Boyle, 1. Patel, J. Armour, A. MacLeod, A. Collick, I. Gray, R. Neumann, M. Gibbs, M. Crosier, M. Hill, E. Signer and D. Monckton, 1991. Principles and recent advances in human DNA fingerprinting, in DNA Fingerprinting: Approaches and Applications, T. Burke, G. Dolf, A. Jeffreys and R. Wolff (eds.) Birkhauser Verlag, Basel, pp. 1–19.Google Scholar
  8. Jeffreys, A., 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.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Jeffreys, A., V. Wilson and S. Thein, 1985. Individual-specific `fingerprints’ of human DNA. Nature 316: 76–79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jeffreys, A., V. Wilson, S. Thein, D. Weatherall and B. Ponder, 1986. DNA “fingerprints” and segregation analysis of multiple markers in human pedigrees. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 39: 11–24.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Roeder, K., 1994. DNA fingerprinting: a review of the controversy. Stat. Sci. 9: 222–278.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Donnelly
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Mathematical SciencesQueen Mary and Westfield CollegeLondonUK

Personalised recommendations