Familial searching on DNA mixtures with dropout

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Familial searching, the act of searching a database for a relative of an unknown individual whose DNA profile has been obtained, is usually restricted to cases where the DNA profile of that person has been unambiguously determined. Therefore, it is normally applied only with a good quality single source profile as starting point. In this article we investigate the performance of the method if applied to mixtures with and without allelic dropout, when likelihood ratios are computed with a semi-continuous (binary) model. We show that mixtures with dropout do not necessarily perform worse than mixtures without, especially if some separation between the donors is possible due to their different dropout probabilities. The familial searching true and false positive rates of mixed profiles on 15 loci are in some cases better than those of single source profiles on 10 loci. Thus, the information loss due to the fact that the person of interest's DNA has been mixed with that of other, and is affected by dropout, can be less than the loss of information corresponding to having 5 fewer loci available for a single source trace. Profiles typed on 10 autosomal loci are often involved in familial searching casework since many databases, including the Dutch one, in part consist of such profiles. Therefore, from this point of view, there seems to be no objection to extend familial searching to mixed or degraded profiles.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForensic Science International: Genetics
PublisherElsevier Ireland Ltd
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)doi:10.1016/j.fsigen.2016.02.002
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

Publication series

NameForensic Science International: Genetics


  • DNA databases
  • DNA mixtures
  • Dropout
  • Familial Searching
  • Likelihood ratio distributions


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