Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential for incorrect relationship identification in new forensic familial searching techniques

Date:
February 9, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
New research suggests that unrelated individuals may be mistakenly identified as genetic family members due to inaccurate genetic assumptions. This is particularly relevant when considering familial searching: a new technique which extends forensic identification to family members of individuals with profiles in offender/arrestee DNA databases. In a new study, researchers show that false familial identification may be more likely for individuals with particular genetic backgrounds; for example, in the USA, those of Asian or Native American descent.

New research suggests that unrelated individuals may be mistakenly identified as genetic family members due to inaccurate genetic assumptions. This is particularly relevant when considering familial searching: a new technique which extends forensic identification to family members of individuals with profiles in offender/arrestee DNA databases.

Related Articles


In a study published this week in PLoS Genetics, researchers at the Universities of Washington and California at Berkeley show that false familial identification may be more likely for individuals with particular genetic backgrounds; for example, in the USA, those of Asian or Native American descent.

In familial searching, a partial genetic profile match between a database entrant and a crime scene sample is used to implicate genetic relatives of the database entrant as potential sources of the crime scene sample. Unlike in traditional forensic DNA identification, where all genetic markers must match exactly, in familial searching only a portion of genetic markers need to match to suggest a biological relationship. This method can help identify suspects not currently included in databases, but it is also more prone to error.

The possibility for error can be traced to slight genetic differences between groups of people. While all humans share a recent common origin and the vast majority of their DNA, a small fraction of the genetic variation differs in frequency between groups of people according to their population history. These population-specific frequencies are used to calculate the statistical likelihood of an observed partial match, which informs law enforcement about the strength of evidence for a genetic familial relationship.

The new research shows that when an incorrect population is assumed, genetic profiles of unrelated individuals may appear similar enough to come from close genetic relatives. In the U.S., where individuals are typically assumed to have European American, African American, or Latino genetic ancestry, this sort of error is more likely for individuals of Asian or Native American descent.

With the expansion of offender/arrestee DNA profile databases, genetic forensic identification has become commonplace in the United States criminal justice system. These results indicate that caution is warranted in the application of familial searching in structured populations, such as in the United States. The degree to which relative identification is affected in practice will depend on the exact methods and databases used.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rori V. Rohlfs, Stephanie Malia Fullerton, Bruce S. Weir. Familial Identification: Population Structure and Relationship Distinguishability. PLoS Genetics, 2012; 8 (2): e1002469 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002469

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Potential for incorrect relationship identification in new forensic familial searching techniques." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172805.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, February 9). Potential for incorrect relationship identification in new forensic familial searching techniques. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172805.htm
Public Library of Science. "Potential for incorrect relationship identification in new forensic familial searching techniques." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209172805.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins