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Evaluation of forensic DNA mixture evidence: protocol for evaluation, interpretation, and statistical calculations using the combined probability of inclusion

Abstract

The evaluation and interpretation of forensic DNA mixture evidence faces greater interpretational challenges due to increasingly complex mixture evidence. Such challenges include: casework involving low quantity or degraded evidence leading to allele and locus dropout; allele sharing of contributors leading to allele stacking; and differentiation of PCR stutter artifacts from true alleles. There is variation in statistical approaches used to evaluate the strength of the evidence when inclusion of a specific known individual(s) is determined, and the approaches used must be supportable. There are concerns that methods utilized for interpretation of complex forensic DNA mixtures may not be implemented properly in some casework. Similar questions are being raised in a number of U.S. jurisdictions, leading to some confusion about mixture interpretation for current and previous casework.

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