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.

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 September 22, 2014 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 September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. 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:
from the past week

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