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How Rare Is One in 113 Billion?

At the NY Times Freakonomics blog, economist Steven Levitt goes through the math behind the FBI's DNA match probabilities. Recently, an Arizona state crime lab analyst found two unrelated men who matched at nine of 13 loci -- the FBI estimates the odds of such a match to be one in 113 billion. With a hypothetical chance of two people matching at any one locus at 7.5 percent, the odds of two people matching at nine loci is one in 13 billion. "The bottom line is that DNA testing is not perfect, but it is still a million (or maybe a thousand?) times better than anything else we have to catch criminals," writes Levitt.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.