MAT 394 – Forensic DNA Analysis
Fall 2015
Instructor: Dr. Jay Taylor; office: PSA 447; phone:
9652641; email: jetaylo6@asu.edu
Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 4:355:45
Location:
LL 230
Office Hours: Wednesdays 11:001:00 in PSA 447; also
by appointment.
Text: Statistical DNA Forensics:
Theory, Methods and Computation (2008) by Wing Kam Fung and
YuQing Hu. The lectures will also cover some of the material in the
book WeightofEvidence for Forensic DNA Profiles (2005) by
David Balding; a PDF of this book is available online through the ASU
library.
Course Description: This course will provide an introduction to the mathematical and statistical foundations of forensic DNA analysis. After covering background material on probability theory, hypothesis testing, and molecular and population genetics, we will examine four forensic problems that involve genetic data: (1) identification of individuals from DNA samples; (2) maternity and paternity testing; (3) kinship determination; and (4) interpretation of DNA mixtures. In each case, we will see how probabilistic models of genetic processes can be used to assess the evidentiary value of DNA data for a collection of competing hypotheses. Phylogenetic inference will be introduced in the final part of the course, and we will see how gene genealogies can be used to investigate crimes involving domestic animals, wildlife, and infectious disease.
Problem Sets: These will be announced in class and posted at the following link. Solutions will also be posted here a few days after each set is collected.
Essay: You will need to write a short (46 page) article on a subject pertinent to forensic genetics. This will be due on 23 Nov and will be read and evaluated by your classmates.
Class Participation: Please attend and actively engage in class. Don't be shy about asking questions or participating.
Grading and Assignments: Grades will be determined by your scores on the problem sets (25%), the essay (25%), a takehome midterm exam (25%), and the final exam (25%). The usual mapping between percentages and letter grades will be used: 90% and above will guarantee an A, 80% and above will guarantee a B, 70% and above will guarantee a C, etc.
Final Exam: Monday, Dec 7, 2:30 – 4:20 in LL 230.
Lecture notes: These can be found here here.
Date 
Topic 
Readings, notes and slides 
24 Aug 
Overview and history of forensic genetics 
Balding, p. 120; lecture notes 
26 Aug 
Human Genetics: DNA, chromosomes, and heredity 

31 Aug 
Human Genetics: DNA, chromosomes, and heredity 

2 Sept 
Genetic Markers: STR's and SNP's 
Balding, p. 4354; slides 
7 Sept 
Labor Day 

9 Sept 
Genetic Markers: STR's and SNP's 
Balding, p. 4354; slides 
14 Sept 
Probability I: definitions and properties of probabilities 
FH, p. 78 
16 Sept 
Probability II: conditional probabilities and Bayes' formula 
FH, p. 911 
21 Sept 
Probability III: random variables; discrete distributions 
FH, p. 1220 
23 Sept 
Probability IV: continuous distributions; random vectors 

28 Sept 
Population Genetics I: HardyWeinberg equilibrium 
FH, p. 2345; Balding p. 6975 
30 Sept 
Population Genetics II: drift and mutation 
Balding, p. 5663 
5 Oct 
Population Genetics III: structured populations 
Balding, p. 6369 
7 Oct 
Population Genetics IV: sampling distributions 

12 Oct 
Fall Break 

14 Oct 
Identification from DNA profiles: likelihood calculations 
FH, p. 3541; Balding, p. 8293 
19 Oct 
Identification from DNA profiles: relatives 
FH, p. 4245; Balding, p. 94101 
21 Oct 
Parentage Testing: trios 
FH, p. 4760 
26 Oct 
Parentage Testing: incorporating data from other relatives 
FH, p. 6168 
28 Oct 
Parentage Testing: exclusion probabilities 
FH, p. 6876 
2 Nov 
Kinship Testing: two persons (Midterm distributed) 
FH, p. 7990 
4 Nov 
Kinship Testing: three persons(Midterm due: solutions) 
FH, p. 91101 
9 Nov 
DNA Mixtures: examples 
FH, p. 113120 
11 Nov 
Veteran's Day 
FH, p. 121127 
16 Nov 
DNA Mixtures: general approach 
FH, p. 121127 
18 Nov 
Phylogenetic analysis: overview 

23 Nov 
Phylogenetic analysis: maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference 

25 Nov 
Phylogenetic analysis: introduction to BEAST 

30 Nov 
Phylogenetic analysis: interpreting BEAST analyses 

2 Dec 
Forensic Epidemiology 