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Weight-of-Evidence for Forensic DNA Profiles

ISBN: 978-0-470-86764-8
198 pages
March 2005
Weight-of-Evidence for Forensic DNA Profiles (0470867647) cover image
Assessing Weight-of-Evidence for DNA Profiles is an excellent introductory text to the use of statistical analysis for assessing DNA evidence.  It offers practical guidance to forensic scientists with little dependence on mathematical ability as the book includes background information on statistics – including likelihood ratios – population genetics, and courtroom issues.

The author, who is highly experienced in this field, has illustrated the book throughout with his own experiences as well as providing a theoretical underpinning to the subject.  It is an ideal choice for forensic scientists and lawyers, as well as statisticians and population geneticists with an interest in forensic science and DNA.

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1. Introduction.

1.1 Weight-of-evidence theory.

1.2 About the book.

1.3 DNA profiling technology.

1.4 What you need to know already.

1.5 Other resources.

2. Crime on an island.

2.1  Warm-up exercises.

2.2  Rare trait identification evidence.

2.3  Making the island problem more realistic.

2.4  Weight-of-evidence exercises.

3. Assessing evidence via likelihood ratios.

3.1  Likelihood ratios.

3.2  The weight-of-evidence formula.

3.3  General application of the formula.

3.4  Consequences for DNA evidence.

3.5  Some derivations.

3.6  Further weight-of-evidence exercises.

4. Typing technologies.

4.1  STR typing.

4.2  mtDNA typing.

4.3  Y-chromosome markers.

4.4  X-chromosome markers.

4.5  SNP profiles.

4.6  Fingerprints.

5. Some population genetics for DNA evidence.

5.1  A brief overview.

5.2  Ø, or FST.

5.3  A statistical model and sampling formula.

5.4  Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.

5.5  Linkage equilibrium.

5.6  Coancestry.

5.7  Likelihood-based estimation of Ø.

5.8  Population genetics exercises.

6. Identification.

6.1  Choosing the hypotheses.

6.2  Calculating the likelihood ratios.

6.3  Application to STR profiles.

6.4  Application to haploid profiles.

6.5  Mixtures.

6.6  Identification exercises.

7. Relatedness.

7.1  Paternity.

7.2  Other relatedness between two individuals.

7.3  Software for relatedness analysis.

7.4  Inference of ethnicity or phenotype.

7.5  Relatedness exercises.

8. Other approaches to weight of evidence.

8.1  Uniqueness.

8.2  Inclusion/Exclusion probabilities.

8.3  Hypothesis testing.

8.4  Other exercises.

9. Issues for the courtroom.

9.1  Bayesian reasoning in court.

9.2  Some fallacies.

9.3  Some UK appeal cases.

9.4  US National Research Council reports.

9.5  Prosecutor's fallacy exercises.

10. Solutions to exercises.



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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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