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ProPublica reports on TrueAllele analysis of DNA evidence

New York, NY

Reporter Lauren Kirchner examines public policy implications of probabilistic genotyping in her ProPublica article "Where Traditional DNA Testing Fails, Algorithms Take Over."

The article leads with prosecutors using Cybergenetics TrueAllele® statistical analysis to resolve a five-person DNA mixture on a handgun to secure a conviction. It follows with defenders using TrueAllele to help free an innocent man who had been wrongfully imprisoned for 24 years.

"Our laboratory does a lot of property crime, which involves a lot of weak samples and mixtures," said South Carolina forensic scientist John Barron. "[TrueAllele is] a more complete analysis of the mixture versus manually using thresholds, so it’s fairer to both the prosecution and the defense. We use it quite a bit."

Cybergenetics provides free screening of DNA evidence to police, prosecutors and defenders. For transparency in criminal cases, the company provides free access to software testing. TrueAllele inventor Dr. Mark Perlin says, "Here’s the car, here’s the keys – drive it."

The timely article draws on many sources. It covers diverse public policy issues, including bias, transparency, software, source code, PCAST, criminal justice and the Constitution.


  • Where traditional DNA testing fails, algorithms take over - ProPublica
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