International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 415–425 | Cite as

Exclusion probabilities and likelihood ratios with applications to kinship problems

  • Klaas-Jan Slooten
  • Thore Egeland
Original Article


In forensic genetics, DNA profiles are compared in order to make inferences, paternity cases being a standard example. The statistical evidence can be summarized and reported in several ways. For example, in a paternity case, the likelihood ratio (LR) and the probability of not excluding a random man as father (RMNE) are two common summary statistics. There has been a long debate on the merits of the two statistics, also in the context of DNA mixture interpretation, and no general consensus has been reached. In this paper, we show that the RMNE is a certain weighted average of inverse likelihood ratios. This is true in any forensic context. We show that the likelihood ratio in favor of the correct hypothesis is, in expectation, bigger than the reciprocal of the RMNE probability. However, with the exception of pathological cases, it is also possible to obtain smaller likelihood ratios. We illustrate this result for paternity cases. Moreover, some theoretical properties of the likelihood ratio for a large class of general pairwise kinship cases, including expected value and variance, are derived. The practical implications of the findings are discussed and exemplified.


Kinship analysis Paternity testing Exclusion probabilities Likelihood ratios 



The work of TE leading to these results was financially supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 285487 (EUROFORGEN-NoE).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Forensic InstituteThe HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Norwegian University of Life SciencesAasNorway
  3. 3.Department of MathematicsVU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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