DNA evidence: Wrong answers or wrong questions?
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Much of the controversy over DNA evidence is due to the way in which forensic scientific evidence has classically been presented. The orthodox approach is to consider whether two samples match according to a predetermined criterion. If they do, the fact of match is reported along with an estimate of the frequency of the characteristics. This method fails to address the questions raised in court cases, diverts argument into irrelevancies and stultifies research. Presentation of evidence in the form of likelihood ratios, on the other hand, forces the witness to answer the questions the court is interested in and makes apparent lines of research required to increase our understanding.
Key wordsDNA forensic science significance tests likelihood ratios
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