Exclusion probabilities and likelihood ratios with applications to mixtures

Thore Egeland, K. Slooten

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In forensic genetics, DNA profiles are compared in order to make inferences, paternity cases being a standard example. The statistical evidence can be summarized and reported in several ways. For example, in a paternity case, the likelihood ratio (LR) and the probability of not excluding a random man as father (RMNE) are two common summary statistics. There has been a long debate on the merits of the two statistics, also in the context of DNA mixture interpretation, and no general consensus has been reached. In this paper, we show that the RMNE is a certain weighted average of inverse likelihood ratios. This is true in any forensic context. We show that the likelihood ratio in favor of the correct hypothesis is, in expectation, bigger than the reciprocal of the RMNE probability. However, with the exception of pathological cases, it is also possible to obtain smaller likelihood ratios. We illustrate this result for paternity cases. Moreover, some theoretical properties of the likelihood ratio for a large class of general pairwise kinship cases, including expected value and variance, are derived. The practical implications of the findings are discussed and exemplified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • DNA mixtures
  • Exclusion probabilities
  • Weight of evidence


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