Validation of DNA-based identification software by computation of pedigree likelihood ratios

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Disaster victim identification (DVI) can be aided by DNA-evidence, by comparing the DNA-profiles of unidentified individuals with those of surviving relatives. The DNA-evidence is used optimally when such a comparison is done by calculating the appropriate likelihood ratios. Though conceptually simple, the calculations can be quite involved, especially with large pedigrees, precise mutation models etc. In this article we describe a series of test cases designed to check if software designed to calculate such likelihood ratios computes them correctly. The cases include both simple and more complicated pedigrees, among which inbred ones. We show how to calculate the likelihood ratio numerically and algebraically, including a general mutation model and possibility of allelic dropout. In Appendix A we show how to derive such algebraic expressions mathematically. We have set up these cases to validate new software, called Bonaparte, which performs pedigree likelihood ratio calculations in a DVI context. Bonaparte has been developed by SNN Nijmegen (The Netherlands) for the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). It is available free of charge for non-commercial purposes (see for details). Commercial licenses can also be obtained. The software uses Bayesian networks and the junction tree algorithm to perform its calculations. ?? 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-315
Number of pages8
JournalForensic Science International : Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Bayesian networks
  • Disaster victim identification
  • Kinship
  • Likelihood ratio
  • Software validation


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