DNA evidence, probabilistic evaluation and collaborative tests

F Taroni, C G Aitken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Forensic scientists working in 12 state or private laboratories participated in collaborative tests to improve the reliability of the presentation of DNA data at trial. These tests were motivated in response to the growing criticism of the power of DNA evidence. The experts' conclusions in the tests are presented and discussed in the context of the Bayesian approach to interpretation. The use of a Bayesian approach and subjective probabilities in trace evaluation permits, in an easy and intuitive manner, the integration into the decision procedure of any revision of the measure of uncertainty in the light of new information. Such an integration is especially useful with forensic evidence. Furthermore, we believe that this probabilistic model is a useful tool (a) to assist scientists in the assessment of the value of scientific evidence, (b) to help jurists in the interpretation of judicial facts and (c) to clarify the respective roles of scientists and of members of the court. Respondents to the survey were reluctant to apply this methodology in the assessment of DNA evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-143
Number of pages23
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000


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