The Use of Mitochondrial DNA Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms to Assist in the Resolution of Three Challenging Forensic Cases

Rebecca S. Just, Mark D. Leney, Suzanne M. Barritt, Christopher W. Los, Brion C. Smith, Thomas D. Holland, Thomas J. Parsons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-891
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics

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