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Routine Forensic Use of the Mitochondrial 12S Ribosomal RNA Gene for Species Identification


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Terry Melton, Ph.D.
Mitotyping Technologies, LLC
2565 Park Center Boulevard, Suite 200
State College, PA 16801


Abstract:  Since July 2004, Mitotyping Technologies has been amplifying and sequencing a ∼150 base pair fragment of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that codes for 12S ribosomal RNA, to identify the species origin of nonhuman casework samples. The ∼100 base pair sequence product is searched at and the species match is reported. The use of this assay has halved the number of samples for which no mtDNA results are obtained and is especially useful on hairs and degraded samples. The availability of species determination may aid forensic investigators in opening or closing off lines of inquiry where a highly probative but challenging sample has been collected.