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Mitochondrial DNA Heteroplasmy in a Filipino population

Identification by DNA analysis has proven to be a powerful technique in forensic science. Specifically, the use mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in forensic casework is important because of its high copy number (up to 1000 copies per cell). The high copy number results in an increased sensitivity for detection even when extremely low amounts of DNA or highly degraded DNA is available. This is extremely useful in the identification of mass disaster victims whose remains have been exposed to extreme conditions, e.g. intense heat, UV, strong chemicals, microorganisms.

Because mtDNA is maternally inherited, comparisons can be made between distant maternal relatives. However mutations on mtDNA across one generation of mother and child (heteroplasmy) occurs. Hence there is a need to determine regions on the mtDNA that are prone to mutation (hot spots) in order to better evaluate sequence data (matches and mismatches) from forensic and reference samples.

Funding agency: Natural Sciences Research Institute Collaborator:

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