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    Four model variants within a continuous forensic DNA mixture interpretation framework: Effects on evidential inference and reporting

    Swaminathan, Harish and Qureshi, Muhammad O. and Grgicak, Catherine and Duffy, Ken R. and Lun, Desmond S. (2018) Four model variants within a continuous forensic DNA mixture interpretation framework: Effects on evidential inference and reporting. PLoS ONE, 13 (11). ISSN 1932-6203

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    Continuous mixture interpretation methods that employ probabilistic genotyping to compute the Likelihood Ratio (LR) utilize more information than threshold-based systems. The continuous interpretation schemes described in the literature, however, do not all use the same underlying probabilistic model and standards outlining which probabilistic models may or may not be implemented into casework do not exist; thus, it is the individual forensic laboratory or expert that decides which model and corresponding software program to implement. For countries, such as the United States, with an adversarial legal system, one can envision a scenario where two probabilistic models are used to present the weight of evidence, and two LRs are presented by two experts. Conversely, if no independent review of the evidence is requested, one expert using one model may present one LR as there is no standard or guideline requiring the uncertainty in the LR estimate be presented. The choice of model determines the underlying probability calculation, and changes to it can result in non-negligible differences in the reported LR or corresponding verbal categorization presented to the trier-of-fact. In this paper, we study the impact of model differences on the LR and on the corresponding verbal expression computed using four variants of a continuous mixture interpretation method. The four models were tested five times each on 101, 1-, 2- and 3-person experimental samples with known contributors. For each sample, LRs were computed using the known contributor as the person of interest. In all four models, intra-model variability increased with an increase in the number of contributors and with a decrease in the contributor’s template mass. Inter-model variability in the associated verbal expression of the LR was observed in 32 of the 195 LRs used for comparison. Moreover, in 11 of these profiles there was a change from LR > 1 to LR < 1. These results indicate that modifications to existing continuous models do have the potential to significantly impact the final statistic, justifying the continuation of broad-based, large-scale, independent studies to quantify the limits of reliability and variability of existing forensically relevant systems

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: © 2018 Swaminathan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Cite as: Swaminathan H, Qureshi MO, Grgicak CM, Duffy K, Lun DS (2018) Four model variants within a continuous forensic DNA mixture interpretation framework: Effects on evidential inference and reporting. PLoS ONE 13(11): e0207599. pone.0207599.
    Keywords: Four model variants; continuous; forensic DNA; mixture; interpretation; framework; Effects; evidential inference; reporting;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > Hamilton Institute
    Item ID: 13076
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr Ken Duffy
    Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2020 15:27
    Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
    Publisher: Public Library of Science
    Refereed: Yes
    Use License: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA).Details of this licence are available here

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