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data banks on convicted felons, and international exchange of information are not in our charge. Rather, this report deals mainly with the computation of probabilities used to evaluate the implications of DNA test results that incriminate suspects. It focuses on situations where the DNA profile of a suspect (or sometimes a victim) apparently matches that of the evidence DNA. (We use the phrase ''evidence DNA" to refer to the sample of biological material, such as blood or semen, usually taken from the crime scene or from the victim.) The central question that the report addresses is this: What information can a forensic scientist, population geneticist, or statistician provide to assist a judge or jury in drawing inferences from the finding of a match?
To answer this question, the committee reviewed the scientific literature and the legal cases and commentary on DNA profiling, and it investigated the various criticisms that have been voiced about population data, statistics, and laboratory error. Much has been learned since the last report. The technology for DNA profiling and the methods for estimating frequencies and related statistics have progressed to the point where the reliability and validity of properly collected and analyzed DNA data should not be in doubt. The new recommendations presented here should pave the way to more effective use of DNA evidence.
This report describes both the science behind DNA profiling and the data on the frequency of profiles in human populations, and it recommends procedures for providing various statistics that may be useful in the courtroom. The procedures are based on population genetics and statistics, and they render the ceiling principle and the interim ceiling principle unnecessary.
This executive summary outlines the structure and contents of the full report, and it gives the recommendations together with abbreviated explanations of the reasons behind them. This summary does not constitute a complete exposition, and it is no substitute for a careful reading of the chapters that follow. As the report will reveal, the committee agrees with many recommendations of the 1992 report but disagrees with others. Since the committee has not attempted to review all the statements and recommendations in the 1992 report, the lack of discussion of any statement should not be interpreted as either endorsing or rejecting that statement.
Contents of the Report
Overview. The report begins with an extended summary of the chapters that make up the full report. This overview describes the essentials of the subject with a minimum of jargon, statistics, and technical details, and it includes a numerical example that illustrates how the procedures that are discussed and recommended would apply in a typical case. The main report offers fuller explanations, details, and justifications.
Chapter 1. The first chapter describes the 1992 NRC report, the changes since that report, the uses and validity of DNA typing, differences between DNA