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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • DNA typing;
  • forensic genetics;
  • human mitochondrial DNA;
  • hypervariable region;
  • haplotypes;
  • population genetics;
  • Haiti

Abstract:  Very little genetic data exist on Haitians, an estimated 1.2 million of whom, not including illegal immigrants, reside in the United States. The absence of genetic data on a population of this size reduces the discriminatory power of criminal and missing-person DNA databases in the United States and Caribbean. We present a forensic population study that provides the first genetic data set for Haiti. This study uses hypervariable segment one (HVS-1) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) nucleotide sequences from 291 subjects primarily from rural areas of northern and southern Haiti, where admixture would be minimal. Our results showed that the African maternal genetic component of Haitians had slightly higher West-Central African admixture than African-Americans and Dominicans, but considerably less than Afro-Brazilians. These results lay the foundation for further forensic genetics studies in the Haitian population and serve as a model for forensic mtDNA identification of individuals in other isolated or rural communities.