Familial [mis]identification rates and experiments in video

Happy to say that a paper I wrote along with Erin Murphy, Yun Song, and Monty Slatkin is out today over at PLoS ONE (and on the arXiv).  In the paper, we implement the familial searching method of Myers et al. and estimate power, false positive rate, and rates of distant relatives misidentified as near relatives.  Short story: we find very high power and low false positive rate, however we also see high rates of relative misidentification.

These results are relevant to people inside and outside of the scientific community involved in decisions about the implementation of familial searching methods.  With that motivation [and generally], I’m experimenting with explaining my research through different media apart from technical manuscripts.

Adhamh Hoeltzel, Alex Safron, Mosaic Project youth leadership, and I collaborated to make a charismatic and informative general audience video explaining the idea and impact of familial misidentification in social context.  I’m hoping to see this video used in high school classroom or other educational contexts to introduce ideas and stimulate questions about forensic genetics.

For a quick technical overview, I made a short video abstract which outlines the basic questions and results for a scientific audience (video abstract idea thanks to Eline Lorenzen, more information coming soon).

Finally, I wrote a guest post for Haldane’s Sieve to motivate and explain the work to population geneticists without background in forensic science.

I’m curious to learn how these different formats are received and see other scientists’ alternate-media projects.  Most importantly, I’m excited to see more engaged discussion of forensic identification methods and their implementation.

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