Charles Brenner

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Charles Hallam Brenner is an American mathematician who is the originator of forensic mathematics. His father Joel Lee Brenner was a professor of mathematics and his mother Frances Hallam Brenner was a city councillor and briefly mayor of Palo Alto, California. His uncle Charles Brenner, MD was a psychiatrist.

Brenner received a B.S. from Stanford University in 1967, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1984.

Brenner participated in the implementation of APL\360 and APL\1130, and implemented the transpose and rotate primitive functions.

More recently, Brenner specializes in the use of mathematics in DNA analysis. His principal areas of interest and achievement in the mathematics of forensic DNA are kinship, rare haplotype matching, and DNA mixtures. In a couple of Y haplotype papers, most recently, he showed why Y haplotypes must be much rarer, and how much rarer, than their sample frequency in a reference population sample. Brenner’s Symbolic Kinship Program, which can for example assess the identification evidence based on DNA profiles from an anonymous body and an arbitrary set of presumed relatives, has been widely used in mass victim identification projects, including identifying about 1/3 of the identified World Trade Center bodies. His main product, DNA•VIEW is written in APL.

Brenner played a key role in the resolution of the Larry Hillblom inheritance case, resulting in four American children each receiving $50 million.

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