Weight-of-Evidence for Forensic DNA Profiles. Statistics in Practice

  • ID: 2174317
  • Book
  • 198 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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The introduction of DNA profiling into courtrooms during the late 1980s caused substantial controversy. Profiling techniques have advanced considerably since that time, and the power of DNA evidence is indisputable; but the importance of accurate evidence interpretation must not be underestimated. This book provides a thorough presentation of weight–of–evidence for DNA profiling, and aims to help both the lawyer and the forensic scientist charged with presenting DNA evidence in court.
  • Links up population genetics and statistics theory with the reality of issues surrounding the presentation of evidence in court; e.g. the prosecutor s fallacy, and the introduction of Bayesian methods in the courtroom.
  • Shows how to calculate likelihood ratios from first principles, including a thorough interpretation of the adjustments to allow for co–ancestry.
  • Provides a self–contained introduction to population genetics relevant to DNA profiles.
  • Provides an introduction to the technology of short random repeat (STR, or microsatellite) based profiling, and a brief introduction to SNP profiles.
  • Provides a comparison with alternative methods for evaluating weight–of–evidence, e.g. uniqueness, exclusion probabilities, and hypothesis training.
  • Fully worked examples given throughout the book, as well as exercises with solutions.

Weight–of–evidence for forensic DNA profiles is aimed at forensic scientists presenting evidence in court as well as all students of evidence interpretation. Little background is necessary in either statistics or population genetics; statisticians however will find fascinating applications of important statistical concepts . This book is also suitable for judges and lawyers seeking to attain a thorough understanding of weight–of–evidence theory, and those interested in the application of these principles to the legal field and their presentation in the courtroom.

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Preface xi

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Weight–of–evidence theory 1

1.2 About the book 3

1.3 DNA profiling technology 3

1.4 What you need to know already 4

1.5 Other resources 5

2 Crime on an island 7

2.1 Warm–up examples 7

2.1.1 Disease testing: Positive Predictive Value (PPV) 7

2.1.2 Coloured taxis 9

2.2 Rare trait identification evidence 10

2.2.1 The island problem 10

2.2.2 A first lesson from the island problem 11

2.3 Making the island problem more realistic 13

2.3.1 Uncertainty about p 14

2.3.2 Uncertainty about N 15

2.3.3 Possible typing errors 15

2.3.4 Searches 17

2.3.5 Other evidence 18

2.3.6 Relatives and population subdivision 19

2.4 Weight–of–evidence exercises 20

3 Assessing evidence via likelihood ratios 22

3.1 Likelihood ratios 22

3.2 The weight–of–evidence formula 24

3.2.1 Application to the island problem 25

3.2.2 The population P 25

3.3 General application of the formula 27

3.3.1 Several items of evidence 27

3.3.2 Assessing all the evidence 29

3.3.3 The role of the expert witness 30

3.4 Consequences for DNA evidence 31

3.4.1 Many possible culprits 31

3.4.2 Incorporating the non–DNA evidence 31

3.4.3 Relatives 33

3.4.4 Laboratory and handling errors 34

3.4.5 Database searches 35

3.5 Some derivations 36

3.5.1 Bayes theorem for identification evidence 37

3.5.2 Uncertainty about p and N 38

3.5.3 Grouping the alternative possible culprits 39

3.5.4 Typing errors 40

3.6 Further weight–of–evidence exercises 40

4 Typing technologies 43

4.1 STR typing 44

4.1.1 Anomalies 46

4.1.2 Contamination 49

4.1.3 Low copy number (LCN) profiling 50

4.2 mtDNA typing 50

4.3 Y–chromosome markers 51

4.4 X–chromosome markers 52

4.5 SNP profiles 53

4.6 Fingerprints 54

5 Some population genetics for DNA evidence 56

5.1 A brief overview 56

5.1.1 Drift 56

5.1.2 Mutation 59

5.1.3 Migration 60

5.1.4 Selection 60

5.2 , or FST 62

5.3 A statistical model and sampling formula 63

5.3.1 Diallelic loci 63

5.3.2 Multi–allelic loci 68

5.4 Hardy Weinberg equilibrium 69

5.4.1 Testing for deviations from HWE 70

5.4.2 Interpretation of test results 74

5.5 Linkage equilibrium 75

5.6 Coancestry 77

5.7 Likelihood–based estimation of 79

5.8 Population genetics exercises 81

6 Identification 82

6.1 Choosing the hypotheses 82

6.1.1 Post–data equivalence of hypotheses 84

6.2 Calculating likelihood ratios 85

6.2.1 The match probability 85

6.2.2 One locus 87

6.2.3 Multiple loci: the product rule 89

6.2.4 Relatives of s 90

6.2.5 Confidence limits 92

6.2.6 Other profiled individuals 93

6.3 Application to STR profiles 94

6.3.1 Values for the pj 95

6.3.2 The value of 96

6.3.3 Errors 98

6.4 Application to haploid profiles 99

6.4.1 mtDNA profiles 99

6.4.2 Y–chromosome markers 101

6.5 Mixtures 101

6.5.1 Visual interpretation of mixed profiles 101

6.5.2 Likelihood ratios under qualitative interpretation 103

6.5.3 Quantitative interpretation of mixtures 108

6.6 Identification exercises 109

7 Relatedness 111

7.1 Paternity 111

7.1.1 Weight of evidence for paternity 111

7.1.2 Prior probabilities 112

7.1.3 Calculating likelihood ratios 113

7.1.4 Multiple loci: the effect of linkage 117

7.1.5 s may be related to c but is not the father 119

7.1.6 Incest 120

7.1.7 Mother unavailable 121

7.1.8 Mutation 122

7.2 Other relatedness between two individuals 126

7.2.1 Only the two individuals profiled 126

7.2.2 Profiled individual close relative of target 127

7.2.3 Profiles of known relatives also available 128

7.3 Software for relatedness analyses 129

7.4 Inference of ethnicity or phenotype 131

7.5 Relatedness exercises 133

8 Other approaches to weight of evidence 135

8.1 Uniqueness 135

8.1.1 Analysis 136

8.1.2 Discussion 138

8.2 Inclusion/exclusion probabilities 138

8.2.1 Random man 138

8.2.2 Inclusion probability of a typing system 139

8.2.3 Case–specific inclusion probability 139

8.3 Hypothesis testing 141

8.4 Other exercises 143

9 Issues for the courtroom 145

9.1 Bayesian reasoning in court 145

9.2 Some fallacies 146

9.2.1 The prosecutor s fallacy 146

9.2.2 The defendant s fallacy 147

9.2.3 The uniqueness fallacy 148

9.3 Some UK appeal cases 148

9.3.1 Deen (1993) 148

9.3.2 Dalby (1995) 149

9.3.3 Adams (1996) 149

9.3.4 Doheny/Adams (1996) 151

9.3.5 Watters (2000) 153

9.4 US National Research Council reports 154

9.5 Prosecutor s fallacy exercises 155

10 Solutions to exercises 157

Bibliography 175

Index 183

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"This book is a good example of how statistics can be explained in plain English to a nontechnical audience, a skill that every statistician needs to master for improved communication." (Technometrics, August 2008)

"...this book should provide a good starting point for any reader..." (International Statistical Institute, January 2006)

" one of the most gifted writers in forensic interpretation an excellent contribution to our field." (Science & Justice Volume 45 no. 3)

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