Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing of Cat Hair: An Informative Forensic Tool

Authors

  • Christy R. Tarditi B.S.,

    1. Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
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  • Robert A. Grahn Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
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  • Jeffrey J. Evans B.S.,

    1. Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Forensic Unit, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
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  • Jennifer D. Kurushima B.S.,

    1. Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
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  • Leslie A. Lyons Ph.D.

    1. Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
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  • Financial support was provided in part by NIH-NCRR R24 RR016094, the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, and the UC Davis Forensic Sciences graduate program.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Leslie A. Lyons, Ph.D.
Department of Population Health & Reproduction
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
E-mail: lalyons@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

Abstract:  Approximately 81.7 million cats are in 37.5 million U.S. households. Shed fur can be criminal evidence because of transfer to victims, suspects, and/or their belongings. To improve cat hairs as forensic evidence, the mtDNA control region from single hairs, with and without root tags, was sequenced. A dataset of a 402-bp control region segment from 174 random-bred cats representing four U.S. geographic areas was generated to determine the informativeness of the mtDNA region. Thirty-two mtDNA mitotypes were observed ranging in frequencies from 0.6–27%. Four common types occurred in all populations. Low heteroplasmy, 1.7%, was determined. Unique mitotypes were found in 18 individuals, 10.3% of the population studied. The calculated discrimination power implied that 8.3 of 10 randomly selected individuals can be excluded by this region. The genetic characteristics of the region and the generated dataset support the use of this cat mtDNA region in forensic applications.

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