SysGen Seminar – David Balding – 10th March, 2017


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Andrew Siebel

T: +61 3 8344 0707

David Balding

Centre for Systems Genomics
School of BioSciences, School of Mathematics & Statistics

Friday 10th March
FW Jones Theatre, 3rd Floor, Medical Building, The University of Melbourne

Forensic Genetics: Evaluating the strength of autosomal and Y-chromosome evidence

I will review challenges that arose in court cases during many years of giving expert evidence in courts for both prosecutions and defences, and also in my roles advising the UK Forensic Science Service and the Forensic Regulator. The problem is to quantify weight-of-evidence for complex, noisy, often degraded and “contaminated” STR profiles allowing for different numbers of contributors, differing relatedness among them as well as their unknown ancestries, plus sources of noise such as PCR artefacts. Most of my work has involved autosomal profiles, but in a handful of cases based on Y-STR profiles I was very critical of prosecution evidence: in my view almost all use of Y-profile evidence in court to date is seriously flawed. I’ve recently developed ideas about how to remedy this problem, which I will expose to your comments and criticisms.

Professor Balding’s research covers very wide ranging applications of statistics in genetics. He is involved in projects on statistical methods for pharmacogenetics, including genetic covariates in pharmacokinetic models, sequencing for rare variants in inherited cardiac conditions, genomic selection in crops and breed identification in mixed-breed dogs. He also remains active in statistical methods for forensic DNA profiles.

Enquiries: Andrew Siebel (