Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Forensic familial search methods carry risk of certain false matches

Date:
August 14, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Forensic DNA-based familial search methods may mistakenly identify individuals in a database as siblings or parents of an unknown perpetrator, when in fact they are distant relatives, according to new research.

Forensic DNA-based familial search methods may mistakenly identify individuals in a database as siblings or parents of an unknown perpetrator, when in fact they are distant relatives, according to research published August 14 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Rori Rohlfs and colleagues from the University of California at Berkeley and New York University.

Related Articles


Familial searching is a new forensic technique to identify a perpetrator if a crime scene DNA sample has no matches in a DNA database. In such a situation, law enforcement can look for a partial match to a known person in the database -- a "near miss" -- in the hope that the closeness of the genetic profiles indicates that one of that person's relatives is the perpetrator. Familial searches can reliably distinguish first-degree relatives from unrelated individuals, but may misidentify distant relatives as being immediate family, according to this new research. As a result, second cousins, half- siblings and other relatives may be identified as siblings. The results suggest a 3-18% chance that a first cousin of a known offender could be misidentified as a full-sibling using current techniques, and up to a 42% chance that a half-sibling could be misidentified as a full-sibling.

The authors conclude that there exist two unanticipated likely outcomes of familial search policies. The study explains these as, "Investigations may wrongly target the immediate families of known offenders, because officers mistakenly believe that their lead is a first-degree relative. Second, investigations may ultimately probe far more deeply than initially imagined, because once officers are convinced that the source cannot be found among first degree relatives, they will widen their net of investigation to include more distant relations. Both of these consequences exacerbate the numerous ethical problems presented by familial searching."


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. Rohlfs RV, Murphy E, Song YS, Slatkin M. The Influence of Relatives on the Efficiency and Error Rate of Familial Searching. PLOS ONE, 2013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070495

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Forensic familial search methods carry risk of certain false matches." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814191914.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, August 14). Forensic familial search methods carry risk of certain false matches. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814191914.htm
Public Library of Science. "Forensic familial search methods carry risk of certain false matches." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814191914.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Group Encourages Black Moms to Breastfeed

Group Encourages Black Moms to Breastfeed

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) A grassroots effort is underway in several US cities to encourage more black women to breastfeed their babies by teaching them the benefits of the age-old practice, which is sometimes shunned in African-American communities. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Harvard researchers found that girls who consumed more than 1.5 sugary drinks a day had their first period earlier than those who drank less. Video provided by Newsy
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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