Diversity and heterogeneity in mitochondrial DNA of North American populations

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Variation in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region as detected by sequence-specific oligonucleotide (SSO) probes is described for 2282 individuals from African-American, European-American, and Hispanic subpopulations from five broadly defined regions of North America (Northeast, Southeast, Central, Northwest, Southwest). Population diversity estimates were uniformly high for all subpopulations and for each major ethnic group. Only the Pennsylvania Hispanic group was remarkable with respect to its mitochondrial DNA types, having both six low frequency population specific types (ranging from 1.2-8.6%) and three high frequency shared types (10-20% each). There was no statistically significant subpopulation heterogeneity present within any of the three major groups at either the subpopulation level or the regional level (p > 0.01). However, statistically significant heterogeneity was measured when comparing the three major groups to each other, with the variance component attributable to this large division accounting for 18.60% of the total variance (p < 0.001). Overall mtDNA is a satisfactory forensic typing locus within broadly defined African-American, European-American, and Hispanic groups from North America, based on the high diversity estimates and absence of heterogeneity, as characterized by SSO typing.

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Journal of Forensic Sciences

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