Interpretation of DNA data within the context of UK forensic science — investigation

Susan Pope, Roberto Puch-Solis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article is the second part of a review of the interpretation of DNA data in forensic science. The first part describes the evaluation of autosomal profile for criminal trials where an evidential weight is assigned to the profile of a person of interest (POI) and a crime-scene profile. This part describes the state of the art and future advances in the interpretation of forensic DNA data for providing intelligence information during an investigation. Forensic DNA is crucial in the investigative phase of an undetected crime where a POI needs to be identified. A sample taken from a crime scene is profiled using a range of forensic DNA tests. This review covers investigation using autosomal profiles including searching national and international crime and reference DNA databases. Other investigative methodologies described are kinship analysis; familial searching; Y chromosome (Y-STR) and mitochondrial (mtDNA) profiles; appearance prediction and geographic ancestry; forensic genetic genealogy; and body identification. For completeness, the evaluation of Y-STRs, mtDNA and kinship analysis are briefly described. Taken together, parts I and II, cover the range of interpretation of DNA data in a forensic context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-404
Number of pages10
JournalEmerging Topics in Life Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and the Royal Society of Biology and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

Funding: Puch-Solis’s contribution and open access publication of this document were supported by a Research England Expanding Excellence in England grant awarded to the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics.


  • DNA data
  • forensic genealogy
  • forensic intelligence and prediction
  • forensic investigation


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