Comments on the Review of Low Copy Number Testing

Document Type

Letter to the Editor

Publication Date



A challenge to the reliability of low copy number (LCN) DNA profiling in the trial of Sean Hoey in Belfast Crown Court in Northern Ireland (R v Hoey [2007] NICC 49, 20 December, 2007) prompted the UK’s new Forensic Science Regulator (Andrew Rennison) to commission a review of low template DNA profiling techniques. That review [2], conducted by Professor Brian Caddy (with the assistance of Dr. Adrian Linacre and Dr. Graham Taylor) was released on 12 April, 2008 and concluded that LCN DNA profiling is “robust” and “fit for purpose.” Yet, the review accepts that the evidence presented in Sean Hoey’s trial was insufficient to establish the validity of the technique. It also enumerates 21 recommendations for specific improvements that should be undertaken to improve the methodology, including such basic steps as the development of a consensus on the interpretation of test results and efforts to establish “best practices” for interpretation.



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