Forensic identification is an information science that serves society, helping to protect the public from
crime. DNA is the forensic gold standard, providing match statistics that quantify identification
information. Preserving information is especially important with DNA mixtures, a common type of
biological evidence that contains more than one person.
Computer mixture interpretation is effective in preserving DNA evidence information, as confirmed
by scientific validation studies that have measured its sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility. But
current human review of the same mixtures is far less effective � half the time lab personnel produce no
conclusive statistic, and, when they do, most of the information is lost. Indeed, vital government DNA
databases for solving cold cases use only a tenth of collected mixture evidence.
More effective public policy is needed to help bridge the DNA information gap. Criminals should
be identified, and innocents cleared, using the best available DNA technology. This talk introduces
the scientific and legal issues, and proposes solutions that could help taxpayers obtain far greater DNA
protection for their forensic dollar.
Mark Perlin is Chief Scientific and Executive Officer at Cybergenetics. He has twenty years experience developing computer methods for information-rich interpretation of DNA evidence, and providing TrueAllele? products and services to the criminal justice community.
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