Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in an 11-plex assay were typed in three missing person cases involving highly degraded human remains. Unlike the traditional forensic approach to analyzing mtDNA which focuses on sequencing portions of the noncoding Control Region, this assay targets discriminatory SNPs that reside principally in the coding region. In two of the cases, the SNP typing successfully excluded one of two reference families that could not be excluded on the basis of mtDNA hypervariable region sequencing alone, and resulted in the final resolution of both decades-old cases. In a third case, SNP typing confirmed the sorting and reassociation of multiple commingled skeletal elements. The application of a specific mtDNA SNP assay in these cases demonstrates its utility in distinguishing samples when the most common Caucasian hypervariable region type is encountered in forensic casework.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine