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Value of DNA Tests: A Decision Perspective

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Before a Court of Law testifying in DNA-evidence cases, scientists are often challenged with the idea that the more markers (loci) the better, i.e., why does the scientist not use 16 or more markers? This paper introduces a new perspective, decision analysis, to deal with the problem of the number of markers to type in a criminal context. The decision-making process, which plays a key role in the routine work of a forensic scientist, consists of the rational choice, given personal objectives, between two or more possible outcomes when the consequences of the choice are uncertain. Simulated results support the hypothesis that analytical added value does not increase with the number of markers.
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Keywords: DNA evidence; decision analysis; evidence evaluation; forensic science; interpretation; utility theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Forensic Science, School of Criminal Justice, BCH, University of Lausanne, Lausanne-Dorigny CH-1015, Switzerland. 2: Department of Statistics, Ca' Foscari University, San Giobbe, Cannaregio 873, Venezia I-30121, Italy.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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