U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Estimating the number of contributors to a DNA profile using decision trees

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International: Genetics Volume: 50 Dated: January 2021
Maarten Kruijver; Hannah Kelly; Kevin Cheng; Meng-Han Lin; Judi Morawitz; Laura Russell; John Buckleton; Jo-Anne Bright
Date Published
January 2021

Since the interpretation of DNA profiles typically starts with an assessment of the number of contributors, and in the last two decades several methods have been proposed to assist with this assessment, the current article describes a relatively simple method that uses decision trees, which is fast to run and fully transparent to a forensic analyst.


This research project used mixtures from the publicly available PROVEDIt dataset to demonstrate the performance of the method. The project showed that the performance of the method crucially depends on the performance of filters for stutter and other artefacts. The project compared the performance of the decision-tree method with other published methods for the same dataset. (publisher abstract modified)



Date Published: January 1, 2021