Forensic Utility of the Mitochondrial Hypervariable Region 1 of Domestic Dogs, in Conjunction with Breed and Geographic Information*


  • *

    Part of the research described in this article has been reported in Ms. Andrea Himmelberger’s Masters of Science (Forensic Science) thesis which was submitted to the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies on November 16, 2006, and orally presented in the UC Davis Graduate Group in Forensic Science exit seminar as part of the program’s requirement.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Sree Kanthaswamy, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616


Abstract:  The 608-bp hypervariable region 1 (HV1) sequences from 36 local dogs were analyzed to characterize the population genetic structure of canid mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Sixteen haplotypes were identified. A 417-bp segment of this sequence was compared with GenBank sequences from a geographically representative sample of 201 dogs, two coyotes, and two wolves. Sixty-six haplotypes were identified including 62 found only in domestic dogs. Fourteen of these correspond to the 16 local haplotypes and were among the most frequent haplotypes. The local sample was judged to be representative of the much broader geographic sample. No correlation was observed between local haplotypes and the owner’s characterization of dog breed. A 60-bp variation “hotspot” within the canid HV1 was identified as a potentially valuable molecular tool, particularly for assaying limited or degraded DNA samples.