Human-Genetic Ancestry Inference and False Positives in Forensic Familial Searching.
G3 (Bethesda, Md.)
In forensic familial search methods, a query DNA profile is tested against a database to determine if the query profile represents a close relative of a database entrant. One challenge for familial search is that the calculations may require specification of allele frequencies for the unknown population from which the query profile has originated. Allele-frequency misspecification can substantially inflate false-positive rates compared to use of allele frequencies drawn from the same population as the query profile. Here, we use ancestry inference on the query profile to circumvent the high false-positive rates that result from highly misspecified allele frequencies. In particular, we perform ancestry inference on the query profile and make use of allele frequencies based on its inferred genetic ancestry. In a test for sibling matches on profiles that represent unrelated individuals, we demonstrate that false-positive rates for familial search with use of ancestry inference to specify the allele frequencies are similar to those seen when allele frequencies align with the population of origin of a profile. Because ancestry inference is possible to perform on query profiles, the extreme allele-frequency misspecifications that produce the highest false-positive rates can be avoided. We discuss the implications of the results in the context of concerns about the forensic use of familial searching.
View details for DOI 10.1534/g3.120.401473
View details for PubMedID 32586848