Reasonable formalized methods to estimate the frequencies of DNA profiles generated from lineage markers have been proposed in the past years and were discussed in the forensic community. Recently, collections of population data on the frequencies of variations in Y chromosomal STR profiles have reached a new quality with the establishment of the comprehensive neatly quality-controlled reference database YHRD. Grounded on such unrivalled empirical material from hundreds of populations studies the core assumption of the Haplotype Frequency Surveying Method originally described 10 years ago can be tested and improved. Here we provide new approaches to calculate the parameters used in the frequency surveying method: a maximum likelihood estimation of the regression parameters (r(1), r(2), s(1) and s(2)) and a revised Frequency Surveying framework with variable binning and a database preprocessing to take the population sub-structure into account. We found good estimates for 11 metapopulations using both approaches and demonstrate that the statistical basis of the method is well supported and independent of the population under study. The results of the estimation process are reliable and robust if the underlying datasets are large and representative and show small average and pairwise genetic distances.
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