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The factor of 10 in forensic DNA match probabilities


An update was performed of the classic experiments that led to the view that profile probability assignments are usually within a factor of 10 of each other. The data used in this study consist of 15 Identifiler loci collected from a wide range of forensic populations. Following Budowle et al. [1], the terms cognate and non-cognate are used. The cognate database is the database from which the profiles are simulated. The profile probability assignment was usually larger in the cognate database. In 44%–65% of the cases, the profile probability for 15 loci in the non-cognate database was within a factor of 10 of the profile probability in the cognate database. This proportion was between 60% and 80% when the FBI and NIST data were used as the non-cognate databases. A second experiment compared the match probability assignment using a generalised database and recommendation 4.2 from NRC II (the 4.2 assignment) with a proxy for the matching proportion developed using subpopulation allele frequencies and the product rule. The findings support that the 4.2 assignment has a large conservative bias. These results are in agreement with previous research results.

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