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Modeling forensic DNA database performance

Abstract

Over the past decade or more, DNA databases have been a focal point of development for the forensic field. Using this approach, forensic and law enforcement agencies have aided millions of investigations, many of which would remain unsolved but for the intelligence links provided from DNA database comparison. However, despite their widespread use and increasingly broad legislative and operational reach, there has been limited overarching performance modeling or reflection on drivers of operational or financial efficiency. This study derives an inferential model for DNA database performance using data from major national DNA database programs. Parameters that optimize desirable database outputs (matches) are isolated and discussed, as is an approach for maximizing financial efficiency and minimizing ethical impact. This research takes important steps toward identifying measures of performance for forensic DNA database operations.

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