Research paper| Volume 24, P24-32, September 2016

The successful use of familial searching in six Hungarian high profile cases by applying a new module in Familias 3


      • A new module in the software Familias allowing familial searches is outlined, freely available at
      • Application on the Hungarian CODIS database is demonstrated.
      • The successful use of the new module in six high profile criminal cases is presented.
      • Performance testing as well as simulations are conducted in order to illustrate how Familias handles larger data sets.
      • Validation of the new module in Familias is presented.


      Commonly DNA profiles obtained from biological samples found at crime scenes or of unknown bodies are searched against a large national or local database of reference and crime scene DNA profiles. The aim is to find a direct match, i.e. an identical profile or in the case of a mixture, at least an overlap of all alleles. Familial searching is, instead, the concept of searching for relatives of a stain donor in the database, i.e. a quest for relatives of the possible perpetrator or an unidentified body. The current paper provides the tool to perform effective searches for relatives of a target DNA profile in a large database. In addition, the algorithm accounts for mixtures which is common in crime stains. Specifically we focus on six high profile Hungarian cases where familial searching has succeeded in providing investigative leads. An implementation of the methods is included in the latest version of the software Familias, freely available at


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