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Estimating the number of contributors to a DNA profile using decision trees

Abstract

The interpretation of DNA profiles typically starts with an assessment of the number of contributors. In the last two decades, several methods have been proposed to assist with this assessment. We describe a relatively simple method using decision trees, that is fast to run and fully transparent to a forensic analyst. We use mixtures from the publicly available PROVEDIt dataset to demonstrate the performance of the method. We show that the performance of the method crucially depends on the performance of filters for stutter and other artefacts. We compare the performance of the decision tree method with other published methods for the same dataset.

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