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DNA kinship analysis of unidentified human remains that led to a murder investigation

Starinsky-Elbaz, Sigal, Ariel, Tal, Issan, Yossi
Forensic science international 2019 v.300 pp. e20
DNA, DNA fingerprinting, databases, forensic sciences, humans, kinship, metadata, pedigree, people, Israel
DNA-based analysis is an important tool for the identification of unidentified human remains (UHR). Comparing DNA of UHR with DNA profiles of missing persons’ relatives may provide genetic data leading to identification. In most cases, DNA profiles of missing persons are not available and therefore, the identification process must be based on kinship analysis.UHR were found buried in Southern Israel in 2016. Kinship analysis indicated potential family links to members of a Bedouin family. The Joint Pedigree Likelihood Ratio (JPLR) was lower than the familial database threshold and the match could easily have been missed due to its low value (245). A few factors led to expanded analysis, and the addition of more family members (from the forensic database), as well as the exclusion of half-sister, radically increased the JPLR value (4.94 × 1012).This case demonstrates the crucial importance of examining the metadata and analyzing the STRs regarding family links in cases of low JPLR, as well as the need to re-calculate the JPLR individually for each family member in the pedigree versus the UHR, and to increase the number of family members uploaded into the pedigree.