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Old 21 October 2014, 07:31 PM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,352

The objection as stated in that article doesn't quite make sense either:

"One of these amplified mtDNA segments had a sequence variation which gave a match between one of the shawl samples and Karen Miller's DNA only; ie the DNA sequence retrieved from the shawl did not match with control reference sequences," Dr Louhelainen writes.

"This DNA alteration is known as global private mutation (314.1C) and it is not very common in worldwide population, as it has frequency estimate of 0.000003506, i.e. approximately 1/290,000. ..." he says.

But experts with detailed knowledge of the GMI's mtDNA database claimed that Dr Louhelainen made an "error of nomenclature" because the mutation in question should be written as "315.1C" and not "314.1C". Had Dr Louhelainen done this, and followed standard forensic practice, he would have discovered the mutation was not rare at all but shared by more than 99 per cent of people of European descent.

"If the match frequency really is 90 per cent plus, and not 1/290,000, then obviously there is no significance whatsoever in the match between the shawl and Eddowes' descendant, and the same match would have been seen with almost anyone who had handled the shawl over the years," Professor Jeffreys said.
So if it's the case that he looked at match frequency for the wrong variant of the gene, rather than making some sort of typo, and the actual variant is shared by over 99% of the population, then why did the gene not match any of the control samples? (Note, samples plural). Did they manage to choose multiple control samples which all happened to have a mutation of this gene that's shared by less than 1% of the population?

If the author, or the guy who did the testing, is meant to have somehow read the wrong row of the table for "global private mutation", isn't it just as possible that they read the right row for the frequency and number but the wrong row for the name, rather than the wrong row for frequency and number but the right row for the name? That would make more sense together with the other statements they've made.

Hard to say without more detailed data and information, of course.
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