The likelihood ratio as a random variable for linked markers in kinship analysis

Thore Egeland*, K. Slooten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The likelihood ratio is the fundamental quantity that summarizes the evidence in forensic cases. Therefore, it is important to understand the theoretical properties of this statistic. This paper is the last in a series of three, and the first to study linked markers. We show that for all non-inbred pairwise kinship comparisons, the expected likelihood ratio in favor of a type of relatedness depends on the allele frequencies only via the number of alleles, also for linked markers, and also if the true relationship is another one than is tested for by the likelihood ratio. Exact expressions for the expectation and variance are derived for all these cases. Furthermore, we show that the expected likelihood ratio is a non-increasing function if the recombination rate increases between 0 and 0.5 when the actual relationship is the one investigated by the LR. Besides being of theoretical interest, exact expressions such as obtained here can be used for software validation as they allow to verify the correctness up to arbitrary precision. The paper also presents results and advice of practical importance. For example, we argue that the logarithm of the likelihood ratio behaves in a fundamentally different way than the likelihood ratio itself in terms of expectation and variance, in agreement with its interpretation as weight of evidence. Equipped with the results presented and freely available software, one may check calculations and software and also do power calculations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445-1456
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Kinship analysis
  • Likelihood ratios - weight of evidence
  • linked markers
  • Paternity testing


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