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Am J Hum Genet. 1988 Jan;42(1):135-42.

Bayesian interval estimation of genetic relationships: application to paternity testing.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Jackson.


Using genetic marker data, we have developed a general methodology for estimating genetic relationships between a set of individuals. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the practical utility of these methods as applied to the problem of paternity testing. Bayesian methods are used to compute the posterior probability distribution of the genetic relationship parameters. Use of an interval-estimation approach rather than a hypothesis-testing one avoids the problem of the specification of an appropriate null hypothesis in calculating the probability of paternity. Monte Carlo methods are used to evaluate the utility of two sets of genetic markers in obtaining suitably precise estimates of genetic relationship as well as the effect of the prior distribution chosen. Results indicate that with currently available markers a "true" father may be reliably distinguished from any other genetic relationship to the child and that with a reasonable number of markers one can often discriminate between an unrelated individual and one with a second-degree relationship to the child.

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