Forensic Analysis of mtDNA Haplotypes from Two Rural Communities in Haiti Reflects Their Population History

Authors

  • Jamie L. Wilson Ph.D.,

    1. Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology Program, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA 01854
    2. Biotechnology and Forensic DNA Science Program, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481
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    • Present address: Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118.

  • Vertus Saint-Louis Ph.D.,

    1. École Normale Supérieure, University of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
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  • Jensen O. Auguste B.S.,

    1. Biotechnology and Forensic DNA Science Program, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481
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  • Bruce A. Jackson Ph.D.

    1. Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology Program, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA 01854
    2. Biotechnology and Forensic DNA Science Program, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481
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Additional information and reprint requests:
Jamie L. Wilson, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, MA 02118
E-mail: jlwilson@bu.edu

Abstract

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.

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