Estimating the frequency of nonpaternity in Switzerland

Hum Hered. 1994 Nov-Dec;44(6):337-43. doi: 10.1159/000154241.


In linkage analysis and gene mapping in general, typing error and/or errors in specifying pedigree relationships between individuals typically lead to an upwards bias in recombination fraction estimates and to a loss of power for detecting linkage. [Ott J: Analysis of Human Genetic Linkage. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991]. The presence of nonpaternity is the most common source of error of misspecification of pedigree relationships between individuals that can have a negative impact on pedigree analysis. We have developed estimates of underlying nonpaternity probabilities based on observed Mendelian inconsistencies. The methods were applied to a sample of 1,607 children and their parents. Genetic marker data were investigated to test for exclusions due to nonpaternity. Among the 1,607 children, 11 or 0.68% exclusions were found. When a constant nonpaternity rate was assumed for each child, its maximum likelihood estimate turned out to be 0.78% with asymptotic 95% confidence limits of 0.41% and 1.35%. When varying nonpaternity rates were assumed, its mean was estimated as 0.83% with asymptotic 95% confidence limits of 0.32% and 1.33%.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Paternity*
  • Probability
  • Switzerland


  • Genetic Markers