(Received 10 April 2003; accepted 5 April 2003)
Published Online: September
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In general, the use of DNA profiling results in the context of a criminal or legal investigation must be qualified by an estimation of the statistical weight of the DNA evidence. There are various approaches used to arrive at such an estimate but all rely on reference to databases of DNA profiles, which are usually segregated into predominant sub-populations based on the ethnic origin of sample donors. The compilation and validation of sub-population databases to support forensic DNA interpretation is a prerequisite of forensic biology laboratory accreditation (1-3). In Australia, the accuracy and adequacy of such databases has been scrutinized closely in the criminal courts (4,5). Kaska et al. (6) and Ayres et al. (7) examined the comparability of sub-population data obtained under different mechanisms for assigning ethnicity, but there has been limited research into the mechanisms themselves.
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