Use of subpopulation data in Australian forensic DNA casework

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Forensic Science International: Genetics, 2007, 1 (3), pp. 238 - 246
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DNA profiling evidence presented in court should be accompanied by a reliable estimate of its evidential weight. In calculating such statistics, allele frequencies from commonly employed autosomal microsatellite loci are required. These allele frequencies should be collected at a level that appropriately represents the genetic diversity that exists in the population. Typically this occurs at broadly defined bio-geographic categories, such as Caucasian or Asian. Datasets are commonly administered at the jurisdictional level. This paper focuses on Australian jurisdictions and assesses whether this current practice is appropriate for Aboriginal Australian and Caucasian populations alike. In keeping with other studies we observe negligible differences between Caucasian populations within Australia when segregated geographically. However segregation of Aboriginal Australian population data along contemporary State and Territory lines appears to mask the diversity that exists within this subpopulation. For this reason datasets collated along more traditional lines may be more appropriate, particularly to distinguish the most genetically differentiated populations residing in the north of the continent.
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