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The DN A Database Search Controversy

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A recent article in Biometrics (Stockmarr, 1999, 55, 671–677) has generated correspondence (56, 1274–1277; 57, 976–980) reigniting a controversy started by a 1996 report on DNA profile evidence issued by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC). The issue concerns the evidential weight of a DNA profile match when the match results from a search through a profile database. The views of both Stockmarr and the NRC report conflict with those of many statisticians working in the area, and the differing viewpoints lead to dramatically different assessments of evidence. I outline reasons why Stockmarr and the NRC report are wrong. I also briefly discuss possible reasons why forensic applications tend to be problematic for statisticians.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Applied Statistics, University of Reading, P.O. Box 240, Barley Gate, Reading RG6 6FN, U.K.

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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